Jeremy Corbyn has claimed in response to the Equality and Human Rights Commission report on allegations of antisemitism within Labour being released that “the scale of the problem was dramatically overstated”.
The former Labour leader expressed “regret that it took longer to deliver that change than it should” but added that “the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party”.
Corbyn has confirmed that he does not accept all the findings of the EHRC report published today, though said “I trust its recommendations will be swiftly implemented to help move on from this period”.
The report has found that there were “unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination for which the Labour Party is responsible” as well as “serious failings in leadership” during the time in which Corbyn was in charge.
Corbyn’s name is included 12 times in the EHRC report, but as expected the report does not describe Corbyn himself as antisemitic or recommend that disciplinary action be taken against the former leader.
Below is the full text of Jeremy Corbyn’s response to the EHRC report.
“Antisemitism is absolutely abhorrent, wrong and responsible for some of humanity’s greatest crimes. As Leader of the Labour Party I was always determined to eliminate all forms of racism and root out the cancer of antisemitism. I have campaigned in support of Jewish people and communities my entire life and I will continue to do so.
“The EHRC’s report shows that when I became Labour leader in 2015, the Party’s processes for handling complaints were not fit for purpose. Reform was then stalled by an obstructive party bureaucracy. But from 2018, Jennie Formby and a new NEC that supported my leadership made substantial improvements, making it much easier and swifter to remove antisemites. My team acted to speed up, not hinder the process.
“Anyone claiming there is no antisemitism in the Labour Party is wrong. Of course there is, as there is throughout society, and sometimes it is voiced by people who think of themselves as on the left.
“Jewish members of our party and the wider community were right to expect us to deal with it, and I regret that it took longer to deliver that change than it should.
“One antisemite is one too many, but the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media. That combination hurt Jewish people and must never be repeated.
“My sincere hope is that relations with Jewish communities can be rebuilt and those fears overcome. While I do not accept all of its findings, I trust its recommendations will be swiftly implemented to help move on from this period.”