A Labour frontbencher who falsely denied claiming Zionism was the enemy of peace has said the party is “sorry” for the hurt caused to the Jewish community.
Shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon’s comments come after the Labour leader refused to apologise for his party’s handling of the issue.
Jeremy Corbyn faced a backlash for his lack of contrition during a TV interview with Andrew Neil on Tuesday – where he was asked on four occasions if he would say sorry to the community.
This came in the wake a blistering attack on his record by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, who said a “poison” – “sanctioned from the top” – had taken root in the party and suggested Corbyn was unfit to be prime minister.
Burgon however insisted Corbyn had already apologised on a number of occasions – but acknowledged Labour had not acted fast enough to deal with the issue and said they were sorry for the “very real hurt” that had been caused.
“Of course we’re sorry for the hurt caused,” he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.
“Jeremy has apologised on a number of occasions and said that he’s sorry for the very real hurt felt by people in the Jewish community.
“So, on a number of occasions last summer for example, he has made those statements and it’s right that he did.
“Jeremy’s already said that the Labour Party’s processes were wrong, they weren’t swift enough, they weren’t hard enough, that’s been proved and that’s right.”
In May of this year Burgon insisted he “certainly did not lie” when he claimed he had not described Zionism as “the enemy of the peace”.
Following his denial, a video emerged of him making the remarks, which he was shown during an appearance on Andrew Marr show, and faced criticism from the Jewish community.