Former Labour MP Ian Austin said Sir Keir Starmer would need to launch a thorough internal investigation if he was serious about “tearing out the poison” of anti-Semitism that had blighted the party under his predecessor, says the West Midland’s Express and Star.
Ian Austin’s comments come as a leaked Labour report concluded that efforts to tackle the issue were hindered by hostility towards Mr Corbyn.
It said an “abnormal intensity of factional opposition” to the former leader “inhibited the proper functioning” of the party and its complaints procedure.
The document was intended to be submitted to the ongoing Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) inquiry into anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, but it is now understood it will not be sent.
Mr Austin was the MP for Dudley North before quitting the party over the rise of anti-Semitism under Mr Corbyn’s leadership.
He said the report was unreliable as it had attempted to “shield” the former Labour leader and his supporters from any blame.
“The real issue is how what had previously been a fringe issue in dark corners developed so much under Jeremy Corbyn,” he said.
“Why did racist cranks and conspiracy theorists think Labour under him was their party and what is his responsibility for normalising this poison?
“Tearing out the poison won’t just mean sorting outstanding cases, but subjecting those swept under the carpet under Corbyn to the new process Keir Starmer has promised as well so all the racists can be booted out.”
Sir Keir has launched an internal inquiry into the leak, having previously vowed to address the “disgrace of anti-Semitism in our party as soon as possible”.
Meanwhile, Sky News reports that lawyers urged the report to be withheld for fear of undermining the party’s wider defence.
One source told the Jewish Chronicle that despite the report being the Corbynites’ attempt to blame everyone else for antisemitism, it actually confirms the existence of institutional antisemitism within the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn.
The JC says the report is also said to lambast some of the whistleblowers who appeared on the Panorama expose of Labour antisemitism last year. The party ended up being the subject of legal action after it dismissed them as having “both personal and political axes to grind”.