A Jewish MP who served on Jeremy Corbyn’s front-bench has apologised for taking the “wrong approach” during the antisemitism row in the party.
Leeds North East politician Fabian Hamilton issued a public apology to his local Jewish community, in wake of the the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report last week.
The EHRC found evidence of “unlawful acts, harassment and discrimination” as well as “political interference” in cases of antisemitism in the party.
Saying the report “has rightly been viewed as a shameful moment in the history of our party”, Hamilton said he is “horrified” by its findings.
“However, I would like to take this opportunity to also apologise myself”, he said. The MP was accused of overlooking antisemitism concerns while serving as Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament on Corbyn’s team.
He said “whilst I did raise the pain and anger felt across the Jewish community in Leeds privately with Jeremy Corbyn and his team throughout his leadership, it’s clear that my testimonies were not acted upon.
“It was the wrong approach and I am truly sorry”, he said, adding: “I deeply regret damaging my personal relationship with the Leeds Jewish community.
Saying he found the report’s findings “particularly distressing” as an MP “with one of the largest Jewish communities in the country”, he hoped “those who have been so hurt by the disgraceful events of the last four years feel they are able to work with me once again and I will do all I can to rebuild a fruitful relationship”.
The Leeds Jewish Representative Council’s president Lisa Baker responded to the apology, saying: “we had a conversation with Fabian Hamilton after the EHRC Report was published. We agreed that an apology was necessary and that has been forthcoming.”
She added, that “no one is naive about this: there is a great deal of hurt and disappointment in the community.”
Mr Hamilton “knows he cannot turn back the clock”, she said, but “he has expressed his eagerness to work with the community going forward” and it “would be utterly irresponsible to boycott an MP who publicly expresses his wish to assist this community
“That doesn’t mean all is forgiven and forgotten”, but “the statement he has made permits us to work with him. Obviously, we will also be monitoring the position and holding our MP accountable for his own promises.”
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