Yesterday saw MPs from all political parties take part in a debate on Anti-Semitism which was largely brought about because of the problem of anti-Semitism within the Labour party.

Labour’s actions (or inactions) were heavily criticised by both Conservatives and Labour party MPs themselves. And at the end of the debate, the front-bench response from Labour was extremely poor.

You can watch the full debate or scroll down to read some of the highlights along with video clips of key speeches.

The debate was opened by Sajid David, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, who thanked the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, for being there but criticised the leader saying, “there has frankly been a deeply worrying lack of leadership and moral clarity on this issue from him.”

David said Corbyn’s presence at the debate was an “important step in showing the community that this issue is being taken seriously, and I sincerely hope that he takes the opportunity to once and for all clarify his position on anti-Semitism.”

Sajid David’s comments caused the Labour leader to shake his head and chunter something back, clearly unhappy about the comments. It appears Corbyn visibly responded to a number of comments during the debate as other MPs called him out for it, however, he was not in attendance for all of the speeches.

Luciana Berger, the Jewish Labour MP who first demanded that Corbyn explain his defence of an anti-Semitic mural which sparked the protest last month, delivered an impassioned speech describing abuse she had personally received.

Powerful speech by Luciana Berger MP at Anti-Semitism Debate in UK Parliament

MUST MUST WATCH: Labour MP Luciana Berger receives applause in Parliament after giving a powerful, brave and emotional speech today during the anti-Semitism debate.#AntiSemitism #ChristiansAgainstAntiSemitism #CUFI

Posted by Christians United for Israel – UK on Tuesday, 17 April 2018

“People have accused me of having two masters, they have said I am ‘Tel Aviv’s servant,’ they have called me a paid-up Israeli operative, essentially antisemitism of the worst kind suggesting I am a traitor to this country,” she said of messages she had been sent since questioning Corbyn.

Berger said she would “make no apology for holding my party to higher standards,” saying that “even one antisemitic member of the Labour party is one member too many” and should not be tolerated by the leadership.

“Anti-racism is one our essential values and there was a time not long ago when the left actively confronted antisemitism,” Berger said. “It pains me to say this in 2018 that within the Labour party antisemitism is now more commonplace, is more conspicuous and is more corrosive.”

Berger was applauded by her colleagues and was visibly emotional in the aftermath.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn left the room after this speech.

John Mann, Labour MP for Bassetlaw, said he had been targeted by campaign group Momentum for showing solidarity with Jewish Labour members.

Labour MP John Mann gives powerful speech on Anti-Semitism in Labour

Labour MP John Mann holds nothing back as he tells Parliament how his wife and children have been targetted with abuse and threats of rape because of his stand against anti-Semitism.Share this far and wide!#AntiSemitism #ChristiansAgainstAntiSemitism #CUFI

Posted by Christians United for Israel – UK on Tuesday, 17 April 2018

“I did not expect my wife to be sent, by a Labour Marxist anti-Semite, a dead bird through the post. I did not expect my son, after an Islamist death threat, to open the door, when he was in the house on his own as a schoolboy, to the bomb squad. I did not expect my wife, in the last few weeks, from a leftist anti-Semite in response to the demonstration, to be threatened with rape. I did not expect my daughter similarly to have to be rung up in the last few weeks by special branch to check out her movements in this country. No, I did not expect any of that,” Mann said.

He also explained that “young Jewish members” are “scared to go to a Labour party meeting with me, because they are fearful that they will be intimidated and threatened and that their identity will be challenged.”

Mann also linked the hatred of Israel with anti-Semitism and addressed the need to change the way people talk about Zionism, saying, “just a change in language—in the use of the word “Zionist” as a pejorative insult—by the Labour party would alter the dialogue in this country in a very big way.”

Labour MP Ruth Smeeth, who was tearful after Ms Berger’s speech, also gave a passionate speech of her own where she read out some of the anti-Semitic abuse she had received personally:

Ruth Smeeth gets Standing Ovation after Impassioned Speech

Jewish Labour MP Ruth Smeeth was given a standing ovation by fellow MPs after her impassioned speech at the anti-Semitism debate yesterday. Be advised that part way through the speech Ruth quotes anti-Semitic comments made against her which include strong language.#AntiSemitism #ChristiansAgainstAntiSemitism #CUFI #Labour

Posted by Christians United for Israel – UK on Wednesday, 18 April 2018

“If the House will indulge me, I would like to read out a small sample of what I have received on social media… I must warn the House that my fan-base has shown scant regard for appropriate parliamentary language, so I apologise in advance:

“Hang yourself you vile treacherous Zionist Tory filth. You are a cancer of humanity.”

“Ruth Smeeth is a Zionist—she has no shame—and trades on the murder of Jews by Hitler—whom the Zionists betrayed.”

“Ruth Smeeth must surely be travelling 1st class to Tel Aviv with all that slush. After all, she’s complicit in trying to bring Corbyn down.”

“First job for Jeremy Corbyn tomorrow—expel the Zionist BICOM smear hag ***** Ruth Smeeth from the Party.”

“This Ruth Smeeth ***** is Britainophobic, we need to cleanse our nation of these types.”

“#JC4PM Deselect Ruth Smeeth ASAP. Poke the pig—get all Zionist child killer scum out of Labour.”

“You are a spy! You are evil, satanic! Leave! #Labour #Corbyn.”

“Ruth you are a Zionist plant, I’m ashamed you are in Labour. Better suited to the murderous Knesset! #I Support Ken.”

“Your fellow traitor Tony Blair abolished hanging for treason. Your kind need to leave before we bring it back #Smeeth Is Filth.”

“The gallows would be a fine and fitting place for this dyke piece of Yid **** to swing from.”

“What is so heart-breaking,” Smeeth continued, “is the concerted effort in some quarters to downplay the problem. For every comment like those we have just heard, we can find 10 people ready to dismiss it—to cry “Smear”; to say that we are ‘weaponising’ anti-Semitism.”

“Weaponising anti-Semitism! My family came to this country fleeing the pogroms in the 19th century. Of our relatives who stayed in Europe, none survived. We know what anti-Semitism is; we know where it leads. How dare these people suggest that we would trifle with something so dangerous, so toxic and so formative to our lives and those of our families. How dare they seek to dismiss something so heinous and reduce it to the realm of political point scoring.”

Ms Smeeth was given a standing ovation by her fellow MPs with applause across the house.

The comments she selected also show the connection between anti-Semites and supporters of both Jeremy Corbyn and Ken Livingstone who are closely linked in pro-Palestinian/Anti-Israel circles.

Ken Livingstone was also brought up in the debate with a number of MPs calling for him to be dismissed. The strongest words came from Labour MP Ian Austin:

“Let me be clear about this: Ken Livingstone claimed that Hitler was a Zionist. That is anti-Semitism, pure and simple. It happened more than two years ago, and there has been ample time to deal with it, so it is a disgrace that it has not been dealt with. Kick him out immediately. It should have been enough when the Community Security Trust, the Holocaust Educational Trust, the Jewish Labour Movement and the Jewish Leadership Council all said that it was enough, but we even had the Chief Rabbi speaking out and still nothing has happened. It is a disgrace. My hon. Friend should stand at the Dispatch Box and tell the leader of the Labour party that Livingstone must be booted out. Boot him out!”

Conservative MP Andrew Percy took aim directly at Jeremy Corbyn when he made a passionate speech about the abuse on the left. He was called to order on a number of occasions as the Deputy Speaker urged him to use “moderation”.

Anti-Semitism debate gets heated as Andrew Percy calls out Corbyn in Parliament

Conservative MP Andrew Percy gives an impassioned speech and gets into a heated exchange with the deputy speaker as he calls out the Labour leader over his shocking lack of action over Anti-Semitism.#AnitSemitism #ChristiansAgainstAntiSemitism #CUFI

Posted by Christians United for Israel – UK on Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Percy replied, “I am sorry, Madam Deputy Speaker, but how can one possibly be moderate in one’s language when we are dealing with a leader of a political party in this country who has stood up and described people who want to wipe Jews off the planet as his friends? It is very difficult to be moderate in those circumstances.”

He was again called to order and told he will be moderate.

Percy finished saying, “I have spent several years campaigning in politics. The last general election was the first time anybody stood up and told me I was Israeli scum, and did so having named the Leader of the Opposition as a motivation for saying it.

Priti Patel, the former head of DfID, highlighted the anti-Semitism that is on the hard-left and within Momentum.

“It is particularly alarming and shocking to hear about what is happening in the party opposite, with Momentum and the hard left now out there perpetrating awful comments and actually celebrating and cheering some of the comments that they are putting out. I pay tribute to the Labour Members who have stood up to anti-Semitism in their party. We must all stand shoulder to shoulder with them. The hard left’s hatred and intolerance for those with different opinions has gone much too far.”

Dame Margaret Hodge MP explained how, as a Jew, she now felt “nervous and frightened”, explaining:

“There is a surge of anti-Semitism on the left. In part, it has always been there. There are those who see every Jew as a paid-up member of the Netanyahu fan club, who cannot make a distinction between being a Jew and voicing support for Israel as a place for Jews to live safely, who consider “Zionist” a term of abuse, who deny the holocaust and who hate Jews.”

“I have never felt as nervous and frightened at being a Jew as I feel today. It feels as if my party has given permission for anti-Semitism to go unchallenged. Anti-Semitism is making me an outsider in my Labour party. To that I simply say, enough is enough.”

The front-bench speaker for Labour at the end of the debate was Diane Abbot who gave a rather lacklustre response. Rather than addressing the debate that had just taken place, Abbot instead spoke about her own constituency and concerns of the Charedi community.

Diane Abbot booed and jeered in Anti-Semitism Debate followed by Amber Rudd Speech

Diane Abbot is booed and jeered as she gives an atrocious response to the anti-Semitism debate. If this is Labour's front-bench response then we truly have little hope of expecting change.Amber Rudd gives the government's response to the debate afterwards which is a marked improvement.#AntiSemitism #ChristiansAgainstAntiSemitism #CUFI

Posted by Christians United for Israel – UK on Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Ms Abbot was repeatedly interrupted by MPs asking her to “give way” for an intervention and was jeered and booed when she refused to either respond to them or talk about the debate.

A point of order was raised by Andrew Percy against Abbot, but the Deputy Speaker explained that Ms Abbot could say what she liked from the box and there was nothing they could do about it.

The only intervention Abbot accepted was from a Labour Jewish MP, Alex Sobel, who gave an example of anti-Semitic abuse he had received, being called a “Zionazi” and then asked Abbot if she agreed “that we need to tackle this not just on social media —we need to take more action there—but right across the political spectrum in our own party?”

Ms Abbot ignored the question and simply carried on talking about issues raised by some of her constituents in the Charedi community.

She eventually spoke about what Labour would be doing about anti-Semitism saying the following:

“We are looking at introducing a programme of education, quite possibly delivered by organisations such as the Jewish Labour Movement, and we are emphasising that members have an absolute right to raise the issue of anti-Semitism, including on demonstrations. We acknowledge that dealing with some of these complaints has been too slow, so we are reviewing and speeding up our disciplinary process. We are looking at the workings of the disciplinary committee. We are recruiting an in-house lawyer and a further three temporary lawyers to help to clear the backlog.”

Unfortunately, rather than owning up to the problems within Labour, Abbot instead directed criticism at the Conservatives.

“Speaking as somebody who has experienced more online abuse than all the women MPs in all the parties put together, I hope that Conservative Members are willing to take this issue seriously.”

“This, as I said, has been an emotional issue. I cannot look into the souls of Conservative Members, but I would like to think that nobody has intervened in this debate with a view of getting party political advantage. We in the Labour party take anti-Semitism very seriously. Nothing is gained by accusing the Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition of being an anti-Semite.”

The speaker for the government was the Secretary of State, Amber Rudd, who said, “This has been an extraordinary and harrowing debate, full of powerful personal experiences. The Government are taking a lot of action to combat anti-Semitism, but I want to tell Members that I will leave the Chamber today even more committed to checking that we are doing all we can and stepping it up where we can.”

Ms Rudd accepted an intervention from Labour MP Wes Streeting who gave a scathing rebuke of Labour’s front-bench response that took place moments earlier. “Let there be no doubt in any quarter of this Chamber that in Jewish schools, Jewish community centres and shuls in my constituency, it is the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council who speak for the vast majority of British Jews, who are horrified by what they have seen in the Labour party and who I fear will be horrified by the response from our Front Benchers to this debate today.”

Amber Rudd, the Conservative MP, went on to laud praise on the Labour MPs who had spoken out against anti-Semitism.

“This afternoon’s debate really belongs to the Labour party, and its Members who spoke so passionately from their own experiences and did not hold back from bravely and courageously sharing them with us. Many of us have heard about some of those, but nothing compared to hearing their personal experiences today. The sheer horror and scale of what they have had to put up with has horrified the whole House,” Rudd said.

Rudd concluded by saying, “This has been an extraordinary and important debate. I believe that the whole House has delivered a strong message to the leader of the Labour party: take action. The leader’s words have been strong, and they have been heard again and again, but we have not seen the action that we hoped would follow. If the leader of the Labour party is in any doubt about that, I urge him to listen to the speeches that were made by the people behind him. They were powerful, emotional and harrowing speeches that were not in any way anti-Labour. Many speakers went out of their way to explain that they had joined the Labour party to combat racism and anti-Semitism. The Labour party is a noble and honourable party, and it is absolutely wrong that this corner of anti-Semitism has been allowed to flourish. He has an obligation to take action. We expect nothing less.”

Watch the full debate below: