Jeremy Corbyn apologised for Labour’s handling of antisemitism today, which he has done before but not during the general election campaign – until now.
During an interview with Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on ITV’s This Morning, the Labour leader said: “Obviously, I am very sorry for everything that has happened… I am dealing with it.”
He denied that ‘sorry’ was “the hardest word” for him to say, asserting: “It’s not. It’s not at all. When I became leader of the party, there were no processes in place at all to deal with cases of antisemitism. I instituted those.”
Corbyn added: “Listen, I want everyone in this country to feel secure. There is no place whatsoever for antisemitism in our society.” He described a recent attack on a rabbi in north London as “disgusting”.
Told repeatedly by Schofield to apologise, Corbyn did so and added: “But I want to make this clear. I am dealing with it. I have dealt with it. Other parties are also affected by antisemitism.”
Addressing the criticisms of Labour and himself by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Corbyn said they “ought to be taken for what they are”, adding: “He hasn’t contacted me about it. I’m very happy to meet him. Very happy to talk to him.”
‘Obviously I’m very sorry for everything that has happened. But I want to make this clear, I am dealing with it, I have dealt with it.’
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on claims of anti-Semitism within the party pic.twitter.com/tCfBIdoSQF
— This Morning 🎄 (@thismorning) December 3, 2019
The Labour leader was also asked about issues relating to the London Bridge terror attack that took place on Friday. He said a parole board should be involved whenever a convicted terrorist is being considered for release from prison.
Corbyn would not comment on whether full life sentences should always be served by terrorists, explaining: “I think prison sentences should be decided by courts.” He described the prison service as “woefully underfunded” and emphasised the value of rehabilitation.
Over the weekend, Boris Johnson claimed that Corbyn supported the abolition of MI5. Corbyn confirmed that this was not true, saying: “I’m not calling for the abolition of any of our services. I am calling for accountability of our services.”
On the issue of whether the unredacted documents relating to UK-US trade talks were leaked using Russian methods, the Labour leader described it as a “conspiracy theory” and pointed out that the accuracy of the papers had not been disputed.
Finally, he denied that he was “exhausted” by the election campaign. Asked whether he would still be Labour leader at the end of the next term “whatever happens on the 12th”, he replied: “I hope so yes, because I feel I’m fit. I feel I’m young enough to do the job.”