Rebecca Long-Bailey: ‘We weren’t strong enough on antisemitism’

Rebecca Long-Bailey: ‘We weren’t strong enough on antisemitism’

Leadership contender and Jeremy Corbyn ally says she pressed Labour for more robust action to root out anti-Jewish racism

Rebecca Long-Bailey
Rebecca Long-Bailey

Leadership contender and Jeremy Corbyn ally Rebecca Long-Bailey claimed on Tuesday she privately pressed for tougher action to root out antisemitism in the party.

The shadow business secretary, who entered the race this week, is vying to replace Corbyn as leader, joining Sir Keir Starmer, Clive Lewis, Emily Thornberry, Lisa Nandy and Jess Phillips in the contest on 4 April.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We weren’t strong enough on antisemitism and I’ve been quite clear about that before.”

Challenged on Corbyn’s handling of the row, she replied: “Ultimately, he has to take responsibility as the leader of the party. He has to lead, and I think he has apologised.”

But Long-Bailey added: “There were things that should have happened far quicker. We should have sped up our processes. We should have listened to Jewish communal organisations and involved them, and now we’re in a situation where trust has been completely broken. 

Measures to rebuild trust with the community should include an “independent” disciplinary process to handle complaints, she said.

The candidate also called for all recommendations to be made by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission – the watchdog currently investigating allegations of antisemitism in Labour.

When asked whether she had argued behind the scenes for these measures to be adopted, she replied that she had.

Corbyn apologised last month for allegations of antisemitism in the party in an interview on ITV’s This Morning amid wide media coverage of an article by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, critical of the party on the issue.

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