Labour’s election campaign coordinator has sought to distance the party from suggestions it may support boycotts of Israel.

Ahead of Local elections on May 6, Andrew Gwynne reacted to recent remarks made by frontbencher Kate Osamor, who suggested Labour might in future back the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement of Israel.

Gwynne said he believed boycotts were “incredibly unhelpful” and the party should focus on re-engaging international efforts to promote dialogue.

His remarks about BDS come after Labour has been hit by allegations of anti-Semitism among its supporters in recent weeks.

Gwynne said that rooting out prejudice against Jewish people should be the “number one priority” of new general secretary Jennie Formby.

“The challenge for the party going forward is to rebuild trust with the Jewish community,” he said.

“Many of those people share progressive values and share the aims and objectives of the Labour Party and if they don’t feel that they have a home in the party, I think it is something we need to address pretty rapidly.

“It’s not going to be easy but the way we do it is by showing there is zero tolerance for anti-Semitism.”