Eddie Izzard has warned Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn how he needs to address the infighting within the party over anti-Semitism.
The comedian, who recently won a seat on the party’s ruling national executive committee, said Labour risked not being ready to attack the government and its Brexit plans, saying it’s losing the ‘perception argument’, and cited its NEC’s revised definition of anti-Semitism this week as being the latest issue which needs to be looked at.
He told the Guardian: “We shouldn’t be getting caught in this anti-Semitic definition row, if there is ever a time to adopt the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition and be in step with the Jewish community, go with the mainstream, rather than say we wish to adjust, that meeting was the time. And we didn’t.”
Urging the Labour leader to take the matter in hand, he added: “I’d like him to be strong on putting this to bed, because his heart is in the right place, he’s a decent guy and this is getting swirled and swirled, Doing things like this will make it keep swirling.”
Izzard won his seat on the NEC following the resignation of Christine Shawcroft, over emails she sent defending a councillor who had posted Holocaust denial material. Saying how Labour had agreed to have further discussions with Jewish groups – and regretting the new code being set up despite warnings from the aforementioned groups concerning the omission of some of the working examples from the IHRA’s definition of anti-Semitism, he said the changes had presented the wrong message. “The message I feel should have been sent was that we are with the mainstream on this, everything else can be done from here on, that was the time to do it. We are losing the perception argument, this is a classic thing in the Labour party … and it is going to make it very hard now.”