LONDON (Reuters) – British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn’s office interfered in independent party discipline processes aimed at rooting out anti-Semitism, the BBC said on Wednesday, a claim that the Labour Party sharply rejected.
FILE PHOTO: Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks at the launch of Labour’s European election campaign in Kent, Britain, May 9, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo
A BBC investigation spoke to former Labour officials who said top party figures, including Corbyn’s communications director Seumas Milne and general secretary Jennie Formby, had minimised complaints of anti-Semitism against party members.
Labour said the accusations were “deliberate and malicious misrepresentations designed to mislead the public”.
Labour has battled accusations of anti-Semitism since 2016 and Corbyn – a veteran campaigner for Palestinian rights – as well as other senior party officials have been criticised for failing to take decisive action to deal with it.
British Jewish groups have accused Labour of becoming institutionally anti-Semitic, and the issue has played a part in Labour’s failure to take electoral advantage of the Conservative government’s turmoil over Brexit.
The BBC quoted an email from Milne telling Labour’s internal complaints team that “something’s going wrong, and we’re muddling up political disputes with racism”.
Labour said this misrepresented Milne’s email, w