John McDonnell rejects claims MPs may quit over handling of antisemitism row
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John McDonnell rejects claims MPs may quit over handling of antisemitism row

When asked if Labour members of parliament could jump ship over the row, the shadow chancellor "can't see it"

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell. Photo credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell. Photo credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

John McDonnell has rejected suggestions MPs could quit the Labour Party over its handling of antisemitism allegations.

The shadow chancellor said he “can’t see it” and expressed his belief that the issue would be resolved, after backbencher Neil Coyle warned that some of his colleagues could leave.

Mr Coyle, MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, wrote on Twitter: “I can’t make Parliamentary Committee today & as emails are screened I thought I’d tweet the boss instead. So @jeremycorbyn here goes.

“Members leaving in their thousands over Brexit. Cllrs quitting. MPs will leave. Antisemitism continues in your name. Only you can change all this.”

But Mr McDonnell rejected the suggestion when asked about Mr Coyle’s tweet.

He told reporters in Westminster: “No I can’t see it.

“I actually think what we’ve done this week, we’re open and transparent, we’ve had the debate, people have expressed their concerns and that’s good they’ve actually expressed their concerns, it’s good to be open and transparent about all this.

“(We’re) improving the process all the time, learning lots of lessons and I think we’ll resolve it.

“I think we’ve got to resolve it in our own party but also we’ve got to look at the wider society as well and it might well be that in looking at wider society and we need to look at legislation again and also look at resourcing in the Home Office and the police etc.”

He added: “We’ve had debate after debate about whether the legislation that we have at the moment is sufficiently strong when it comes to this sort of discrimination and I think there’s an open debate now and again it’s also about resources.

“Are the resources there to ensure we can impact upon that and are the resources there to protect the Jewish community? All of that I think is open to debate.”

Mr McDonnell also disputed the claim that “thousands” of members were quitting the party over the issue.

He said: “We have more people joining the party week by week than leaving.”

His comments come after the party revealed it had received 673 allegations of antisemitism by its members over the past 10 months, leading to 12 individuals being expelled.

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