Jeremy Corbyn received a stinging rebuke from the government over his record on antisemitism today, after asking about online racism targeting England’s football stars.
The former Labour leader asked Home Office minister Victoria Atkins what measures would be put in place to stop social media hate, days after racism was directed at three black players.
Corbyn asked: “What real steps is she going to take urgently to ensure that no one, and I mean absolutely no one, is able to post any racist abuse online at all?”
Atkins, responding to the urgent question in the Commons, outlined his record as party leader – which culminated in the Equality and Human Rights Commission finding Labour broke equalities law. Corbyn was suspended by the party for claiming the problem of antisemitism had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons”.
During his tenure, he faced accusations of being too slow to act on antisemitism, including refusing to meet with Jewish leaders to address the issue.
Atkins replied: “I suspect I’m not the only person who has felt a little bit astonished that it is this right honourable member who’s chosen to ask that question about taking immediate action to tackle racism.
Referencing Luciana Berger, who quit Labour in February 2019 accusing it of being “institutionally racist”, Atkins said: “A Jewish female MP had to have police protection at his party conference because of fears of her safety, so I will listen to many, many people about tackling racism, I will work with pretty much anyone, but I must say I will take a long spoon in which to sup with this particular member.”
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