Labour must take action to stamp out the “stain of anti-Semitism”, Eddie Izzard has said as he becomes the newest member of the party’s ruling body.
Under party rules, the comedian takes the place of Christine Shawcroft on the national executive committee (NEC) having been the next most popular candidate in the last set of elections to the committee.
It follows the announcement on Saturday that Ms Shawcroft – a left-wing supporter of Jeremy Corbyn – was standing down following demands from MPs that she should quit in another row over anti-Semitism.
In a statement, Izzard said the party must now rebuild relations with the Jewish community.
“Although this isn’t the manner in which I had hoped to join the NEC I’m honoured to step up and represent Labour members at the heart of our party,” he said.
“This is a very important time for the Labour Party and we must stamp out completely the stain of anti-Semitism from a minority of members. It has no place in our party.
“I have campaigned against hate my whole life and will continue to do so wherever it rears its ugly head.
“We must make amends and repair the damage with the Jewish community as Jeremy Corbyn has promised to do.
“We must get past this, for the good of the people Labour seeks to represent.
“We must unite our party around the platform of hope that Jeremy Corbyn has built so that we can kick out this terrible Tory government and build a Britain for the many not the few.”
Ms Shawcroft had already been forced to resign as the chairwoman of the party’s disputes panel after it emerged she had opposed the suspension of a council candidate accused of Holocaust denial.
She caused further anger with a Facebook posting claiming the row about anti-Semitism was being “stirred up to attack Jeremy, as we all know”.
In a statement she said: “It is clear that my continued membership of the NEC has become a distraction for the party and an excuse for endless intrusive media harassment of myself, my family and friends.”
While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.
That's why Jewish News, the leading source of news and opinion for the entire UK community, is throwing its full weight behind UNICEF’s VaccinAid campaign by using this platform usually reserved for encouraging donations towards our own journalism to instead urge our readers around the globe to perform the greatest mitzvah: saving a life.
We have never before done this for any charity fundraiser but it's hard to recall a campaign that affects so many people, and indeed an entire planet aching for a return to normality. Just like the Chief Rabbi and Rachel Riley, we hope to boost the mission to deliver two billion vaccines, 165 million treatments and 900 million test kits around the world by the end of this year.
Please donate as much as you can, in the spirit of the Talmudic sages: “to save one life is to save the world entire”