Labour must “stand very strong” against any anti-Semitism in its ranks, Gordon Brown has said.

The former prime minister said he was sure that party leader Jeremy Corbyn was determined not to tolerate such views.

MP Naz Shah and ex-London mayor Ken Livingstone are among a number of individuals suspended by the party pending investigations into public statements and online posts.

Mr Corbyn has been accused by critics within the party of not taking a sufficiently tough approach.

Asked about the issue after making a speech on the EU at the London School of Economics, Mr Brown said: “I have always been a friend of the Jewish community in Britain.

“Anybody who is concerned about about prejudice, discrimination and about the treatment of different groups in our society will want to send a very clear message that anti-Semitism is not only illegal but it is wrong and it has got to be punished.

“It is very clear to me that we have got to stand very strong against anybody who commits anti-Semitic abuse.

“I personally think Jeremy Corbyn would say the same, if he was speaking here today, that he too wishes to make sure that there is no suggestion that in his leadership he would espouse anything other than an intolerance towards prejudice and discrimination.”