Shropshire MPs criticise Corbyn over Labour anti-semitism controversy
Shropshire MPs have branded the latest Labour anti-semitism storm as “sad, shocking and disturbing”, and insist Jeremy Corbyn has not got to grips with the issue.
The county’s Tory politicians spoke out following BBC’s Panorama investigation, which featured interviews with former Labour staff members who claimed some of Mr Corbyn’s closest allies had tried to interfere in disciplinary processes involving allegations of anti-semitism.
Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski is unsure whether the Labour leader can survive this latest controversy.
He said: “I don’t know. I watched the Panorama programme and there were some very disturbing allegations being made.”
Labour is currently under investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) over allegations of racism against Jewish people, while Mr Corbyn has been widely criticised for his handling of the issue.
Mr Kawczynski added: “I think they have to be completely open and transparent in this investigation.
“They have to sort out the problem that they have, which has been bubbling up over the last three years.
“I’m afraid he (Corbyn) has not got to grips with it.
“There are real concerns expressed by the Jewish community.
“Three senior Labour peers have resigned the whip because they did not believe he was dealing with it.
“I think he has failed to get on top of it. I am pleased a formal investigation is going to take place.”
Former Shrewsbury mayor Ioan Jones left the Labour Party earlier this year after he had been subject to claims that he shared anti-semitic materical online.
Mr Kawczynski said: "My family were shot at in the Second World War. This is a particularly emotive issue for me given what happened to my family in the Second World War in Poland."
Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard added: “It is very sad and shocking that Labour are failing to deal with racism and anti-semitism within its ranks.
“Labour cannot be taken seriously on equality and human rights whilst alleged anti-semites remain within their party.”
Philip Dunne, MP for Ludlow, said if Mr Corbyn cannot sort the problem out, he should stand aside for someone who can.
“I think this is further shocking evidence of what appears to be institutional anti-semitism running right through the heart of Corbyn’s Labour,” he said.
“He needs to do the right thing and either sort it out or stand aside for someone who will.
“He has shown very little willingness to act despite all the evidence and cases brought to his attention.
“It is a matter for the Labour Party to decide whether they want to be led by someone who is incapable of dealing with the problem.”
Mr Corbyn’s deputy Tom Watson has called on the Labour leader to introduce automatic exclusions for members accused of racism against Jews.
The West Bromwich East MP said: “I am not going to turn a blind eye to anti-Jewish racism, I’m going to call it out day in day out until action is taken.”
Ian Austin, who was one of nine MPs to quit Labour earlier this year over anti-Semitism and bullying, said he was "shell shocked" by the programme.
He also challenged senior Labour MPs to take a stand against Mr Corbyn's leadership. "It is no longer enough to issue a few angry tweets or to tell people like me privately that they understand why we left the Labour Party or that they disagree with Corbyn and the people around him," he said.
"It is time to show some leadership: Stand up, speak out and tell the truth."
A statement from the Labour Party said: “We completely reject any claim that Labour is anti-Semitic.
“We stand in solidarity with Jewish people, and we’re taking decisive action to root out anti-Semitism from our movement and society.”
It added that the Panorama programme was “not a fair or balanced investigation”.