A former Labour minister has publicly apologised for tweets downplaying anti-Semitism and accusing Jewish leaders of “ganging up” on Jeremy Corbyn.
Chris Mullins said sorry for tweets sent in March after the community’s Enough Is Enough demonstration against anti-Semitism, organised by the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council
In one tweet after the protest, attended by MPs such as Luciana Berger and John Mann as well as community leaders, he said: “Sorry to see Jewish leaders ganging up on Corbyn. Far less anti-Semitism in the Labour Party than in other parts of society and in some other political parties. Suspect it has more to do with criticism of Israel than anti-Semitism.
In another message, the former MP, who stood down in 2010 wrote that “alleged anti-semitism” was “yet another stick with which to beat Corbyn — along with Corbyn ‘friend of the IRA, Hizbollah, Hamas, Czech spy, Soviet spy…Whatever next?”
In a third post said: “I’m not a Corbynista, but I can see what’s going on here Sorry to see that some of my Labour colleagues have fallen for it.”
Retracting his comments, he took to social media on Tuesday to say: “Following the demonstration organised by the Jewish Board of Deputies outside parliament earlier this month, I published tweets which offended a number of people. On reflection I can see why they were upset and I apologise. The offending tweets have been deleted.”
Following the demonstration organised by the Jewish Board of Deputies outside parliament earlier this month, I published tweets which offended a number of people. On reflection I can see why they were upset and I apologise. The offending tweets have been deleted.
— Chris Mullin (@chrismullinexmp) April 24, 2018
This comes as the Board and JLC are set to meet Jeremy Corbyn for the face-to-face meeting in two years, to discuss the anti-Semitism issue in the party.
Earlier today, Corbyn apologised for the pain caused by the problem in the Evening Standard, writing: “We have not done enough fully to get to grips with the problem, and for that the Jewish community and our own Jewish members deserve an apology”.
“My party and I are sorry for the hurt and distress caused.”
He acknowledged party process had “been simply not fully fit for purpose” and “we did not look closely enough at ourselves”.
Organisations representing Jewish communities will call on Mr Corbyn to use his “personal authority” to drive through changes to wipe out the problem in the party.