Corbyn grilled on antisemitism during BBC leaders debate
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Corbyn grilled on antisemitism during BBC leaders debate

Labour leader confronted by audience member over a video in which he is seen joking with a now expelled activist who heckled Ruth Smeeth

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn during the BBC Question Time Leaders' Special (Photo credit: Jeff Overs/PA Wire)
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn during the BBC Question Time Leaders' Special (Photo credit: Jeff Overs/PA Wire)

Jeremy Corbyn was quizzed over antisemitism, misogyny and freedom of speech during a Question Time grilling with all major party leaders.

An audience member confronted the Labour leader over a Youtube video, in which he is seen joking with a now expelled Labour activist, who heckled a Jewish MP during the launch of Shami Chakrabarti’s antisemitism report.

As well as Corbyn, the main political party leaders faced a tough grilling from the Question Time audience, with Boris Johnson jeered, while Jeremy Corbyn was accused of having “reckless socialist ideas” and being the cause of female MPs getting “driven out ” of the party.

During the debate, an audience member said: “I look at some of the female Labour MPs and the misogyny that is happening in the Labour Party, they have been driven out of the party.”

The questioner referenced a video of former Labour MP Ruth Smeeth being heckled at the Labour Party’s event to launch the antisemitism report – before Mr Corbyn was said to happily talk with the heckler.

The heckler, Marc Wadsworth, has now been expelled from the party.

Responding, Mr Corbyn said: “Nobody should suffer any abuse in public life or privately,” adding: “Many women Labour MPs, Ruth Smeeth included and others have suffered the most unbelievable levels of abuse.

“And it was a Labour MP Jo Cox who was murdered because she stood up in public life. I simply say to you that bad behaviour, misogynism, racism in any form is absolutely not acceptable in any form whatsoever in my party or in society.”

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn with Marc Wadsworth (right), who ran Momentum Black Connexions, and who heckled Ruth Smeeth

He continued: “I don’t buy this whole nice old grandpa, I see that video and that tells me all I need to know and I am terrified for my daughters because I see what you did in that video.”

An audience member later challenged the Lib Dem leader about her criticism of Mr Corbyn. She said it was shameful that Labour was being investigated by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission.

“Jeremy Corbyn has been fighting antisemitism and racism in all its forms since before you were born, you’ve got some brass neck!”, the audience member said.

Swinson responded by saying she preferred to listen to Jewish politicians Luciana Berger and Dame Louise Ellman, who have both quit the party in the last 12 months.

During the BBC’s Leaders Special, the audience was hostile to all four party leaders, but particularly to the Prime Minister, who was quizzed on trust, the NHS and his controversial work as a journalist.

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