The Labour leader spoke out to condemn Mr Corbyn’s reaction to the report, voicing his “disappointment” over his predecessor’s comments. After the ECHR’s report found that Labour’s leadership under Mr Corbyn had acted unlawfully over handling anti-semitic complaints, the former Labour leader said it was “dramatically overstated” in the party for “political reasons”. Labour’s General Secretary David Evans suspended Mr Corbyn for his comments, before a panel from the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC) voted to reinstate him after they did not find the former leader had broken any rules. But Sir Keir and Mr Evans have refused to give Mr Corbyn back the party whip, blocking him from sitting as an MP, leading to a factional rift in Labour’s ranks.
Speaking at a Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) virtual conference yesterday, Sir Keir launched a fresh attack on his predecessor.
He said: “I can’t tell you how disappointed I was with Jeremy Corbyn’s response.
“Because the words he used, what he said, coming from the former leader of the Labour Party in response to that report were just about as bad as you can get.
“Everything in a sense that has followed in the last few weeks follows from those words, and that has exacerbated the pain and the hurt and we are in a position that I did not want to be in.”
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Labour news: Keir Starmer has blasted Jeremy Corbyn’s response to the ECHR report
Labour news: Sir Keir Starmer said his predecessor’s comments were as ‘bad as it gets’ to Jewish Labour Movement members
Angela Rayner, Deputy Labour Leader and MP for Ashton-under-Lyne, also blasted Mr Corbyn at the JLM conference.
Striking a more confrontational tone against the former leader, Ms Rayner said members of the party need to “get real” about anti-semitism or they will be suspended.
She said: “Our members need to get real about this, our Labour members.
“If they don’t think antisemitism is within the Labour Party and that there’s problems now, then there’s really no place for them in the Labour Party.”
“If they think making people feel unsafe or unwelcome in our meetings is a response to the EHRC report, then they need to be out of our party immediately.”
Labour news: Angela Rayner also said members would be suspended if they are found to be anti-semitic, and said the party needs to ‘get real’
Labour news: Jeremy Corbyn was suspended by David Evans after calling anti-semitism in Labour ‘dramatically overstated’
The ECHR report, which did not specifically state that Mr Corbyn was anti-semitic, stated Labour’s leadership made “significant failings” in how it “handled anti-Semitism complaints over the last four years”.
Released on October 29, the report served Labour an unlawful act notice after members were found to have breached the Equality Act 2010.
The report stated in conclusion: “It is hard not to conclude that antisemitism within the Labour Party could have been tackled more effectively if the leadership had chosen to do so.
“We find that the Labour Party has failed to address antisemitism within the Party in a way that demonstrates its stated commitment to zero tolerance, or that ensures all Jewish members feel welcome and can be confident that antisemitism will be dealt with effectively.”
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On the report’s release, Mr Corbyn posted a statement claiming the allegations of anti-semitism were “dramatically overstated” by opponents for “political reasons”.
Before the NEC panel voted to reinstate him on November 17, the former leader walked back on his initial statement and said: “To be clear, concerns about antisemitism are neither “exaggerated” nor “overstated”.
“The point I wished to make was that the vast majority of Labour party members were and remain committed antiracists deeply opposed to antisemitism.”
Despite being reinstated, Sir Keir ordered the party whip not be restored to Mr Corbyn until he apologies and deletes his comments on the ECHR report.
Mr Corbyn has since launched a legal claim against the Labour Party over the suspension of the part whip.
Labour news: The former leader has since walked back his initial response to the ECHR report
Labour news: Labour is polling above the Conservatives according to Britain Elects
Labour has suffered a factional split between the left-wing and central sections of the party over the row between Mr Corbyn and Sir Keir.
Sir Keir also faces an internal row over this week’s vote on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s latest coronavirus tier system.
Labour sources have also claimed that should the leader back Mr Johnson’s Brexit deal, shadow ministers will resign from his frontbench.
Despite Labour’s issues, a Britain Elects poll showed Sir Keir’s party lead in voting intention with 40 percent support to the Conservatives 37 percent.