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Labour warns against ‘civil war’ within party

Britain’s main opposition Labour Party on Friday urged shocked members to stand united against anti-Semitism, appealing against a renewal of internecine “civil war” following the suspension of its left-wing former leader.

Jeremy Corbyn was exiled pending investigation after he refused to accept all the findings of a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), which said his office had broken the law in its handling of complaints by Jewish members.

‘Day of shame’

New leader Keir Starmer, calling the report a “day of shame” for Labour, said he was “deeply disappointed” in Mr. Corbyn for blaming party critics as well as the media for exaggerating the scale of anti-Semitism.

Mr. Starmer has won strong backing from Jewish groups which, in evidence to the EHRC, detailed a deluge of anti-Semitic abuse online and in party meetings during Mr. Corbyn’s leadership, including death threats at the hands of left-wingers.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservatives are trying to exploit Labour’s divisions, noting Mr. Starmer had continued to serve in Corbyn’s shadow cabinet when anti-Semitic incidents were on the rise.

Mr. Corbyn’s ally Len McCluskey, the head of the Unite union, one of Labour’s biggest financial backers, said the suspension would “create chaos within the party and in doing so compromise Labour’s chances of a general election victory”.

“I don’t want a split in the Labour party. I stood as leader of the Labour party on the basis that I would unite the party, but also that I would tackle anti-Semitism,” Mr. Starmer told Sky News.

“Both of those can be done. There’s no reason for a civil war in our party.”

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2020 11:44:34 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/labour-warns-against-civil-war-within-party/article32985952.ece

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