Sadiq Khan: Labour has been too slow addressing Jewish community concerns
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Sadiq Khan: Labour has been too slow addressing Jewish community concerns

London mayor calls on the party leadership to move quickly to restore the trust of the community

Sadiq Khan
Sadiq Khan

Sadiq Khan has called on the Labour leadership to move quickly to unify the party and restore the trust of the Jewish community.

The Mayor of London said the last week had been “the most distressing and depressing” of his 33 years in the party and warned that failing to prevent a major split could keep Labour out of power for more than a decade.

Jeremy Corbyn told a rally on Saturday that he was “very sad” some MPs had left the party and walking away “achieves nothing”.

Nine Labour MPs have quit the party amid anger over Labour’s position on Europe and antisemitism within its ranks – eight of them joining forces with three former Tories in the new Independent Group.

“Every single Labour member, supporter and politician now bears a serious responsibility towards those we want to help in society, to act quickly and decisively to pull ourselves back together,” Mr Khan wrote in an article for The Observer.

“It is our responsibility to ensure that the Labour party emerges from these uncertain times ready to govern and able to attract those Members of Parliament who have left to return home.”

Among the departures was Jewish MP Luciana Berger, who complained the Labour leadership has consistently failed to deal with antisemitism within the party.

Mr Khan said the “most distressing” part of the tumultuous week was hearing Ms Berger’s account of the “horrific” antisemitic abuse she had received.

He said: “Over the last few years, it’s clear that Labour has been too slow at addressing the Jewish community’s concerns… This has led to a collapse in trust between Labour and the Jewish community.”

Mr Khan said the events surrounding Labour’s internal crisis had left him “shaken” but insisted the focus for now had to be on its Brexit policy.

“The very real threat of a catastrophic no-deal Brexit in just a few days makes the need for us to unite even more urgent,” he said.

Mr Khan’s concerns were echoed by former Labour frontbencher Lucy Powell who said it had been “one of the worst weeks in the history of the Labour Party”.

Writing in the Sunday Mirror, she said: “The Party leadership must redouble its efforts to root out this evil racism perpetrated by a minority of members.”

Mr Corbyn said on Saturday that he was “obviously very sad at some of the things that have happened and very sad at some of the things that have been said”.

He told the rally: “Walking away from our movement achieves nothing. Not understanding where we have come from is a bad mistake.”

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