Keir Starmer: Jeremy Corbyn should reflect on what he said

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Keir Starmer: Jeremy Corbyn should reflect on what he said

Labour leader said he was 'very disappointed' in his predecessor's remarks after the release of the EHRC report, but insisted there is 'no need for a civil war'

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer appearing on the BBC1 current affairs programme, The Andrew Marr Show. (PA Media/Jeff Overs/BBC)
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer appearing on the BBC1 current affairs programme, The Andrew Marr Show. (PA Media/Jeff Overs/BBC)

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has called on Jeremy Corbyn to “reflect” on his comments, after the former party leader was suspended over his response to a damning antisemitism report.

Sir Keir said he was “very disappointed” in Mr Corbyn’s reaction, describing it as the “wrong response” adding: “I haven’t spoken to him since.”

He said: “I think he should reflect on what he said.

“I think it’s pretty clear across the Labour movement that most people think he’s completely in the wrong place on this.”

Sir Keir said there was “no need for a civil war” in the Labour Party, adding that “we need to be united, but we also absolutely need to root out antisemitism”.

The MP for Holborn and St Pancras told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show: “Well I was very clear in my response to the commission (Equality and Human Rights Commission) report on Thursday, which found that the Labour Party had acted unlawfully and there’d been a failure of leadership, that we needed to accept the findings, accept the recommendations and implement them and apologise.

“But I also went on to say that, under my leadership, we will root out antisemitism and that those that deny or minimise antisemitism in the Labour Party and say it’s just exaggerated or part of a factional fight are part of the problem.

“I was therefore very disappointed in Jeremy’s response where he appeared to suggest it was exaggerated etc, and I’d invite Jeremy just to reflect on what he said on Thursday and think about what he said because I think for most people what they wanted from the Labour Party on Thursday was an honest recognition of the problem and an apology, a line in the sand and a constructive way to move forward, which is what I want for the Labour Party.”

The Equality and Human Rights Commission found that the party broke equality law when Mr Corbyn was in charge, but he refused to fully accept the watchdog’s findings and said antisemitism had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons”.

Len McCluskey, the boss of the Unite union, a major financial backer for Labour, warned Mr Corbyn’s suspension was an “act of grave injustice” that could cause a split and doom the party to defeat.

Sir Keir said: “There is no need for a civil war in the Labour Party.

“I stood on a platform to unite the party and I’m determined to do that, but I also made a solemn pledge that we would root out antisemitism and I’m not going to shirk from difficult decisions in rooting out antisemitism.”

He added: “What happened on Thursday was not what I wanted to happen.

“I wanted us to be able constructively to move forward… So there’s no need for a civil war in the Labour Party, we need to be united, but we also absolutely need to root out antisemitism.”

UNMASKED: This week’s Jewish News front page

Sir Keir went on: “ Antisemitism came up in the shadow cabinet and I challenged what was going on, on a number of fronts.”

Mr Corbyn issued a statement to accuse the media and his political opponents of having overstated the scale of the problem and say “I do not accept all” of the EHRC findings.

The EHRC concluded the party was responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination and found evidence of “political interference” in the complaints process by Mr Corbyn’s office.

The former leader has said he will “strongly contest” the decision to suspend him pending an investigation, which also meant the Islington North MP had the Labour whip removed in Parliament.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: