John McDonnell: Antisemitism a ‘stain’ on Jeremy Corbyn leadership

Friday, April 3, 2020

John McDonnell has said that antisemitism in Labour and the party's response to it have been a “stain” on Jeremy Corbyn’s tenure as leader.

The shadow chancellor made the remarks as he reflected on his last day in the shadow cabinet with talkRADIO’s Mike Graham before a new opposition leader is announced tomorrow.

Mr McDonnell said “lessons have been learnt” after the party was dogged by accusations of institutional antisemitism and subsequently criticised for an alleged failure to deal with it.

“Yes it has been a stain, there’s no doubt about it,” he told Mike this morning.

“We should have dealt with it faster, we should have been more ruthless, but lessons have been learnt and I’m hoping we can move on now and become the anti-racist party that we’ve always been.”

He added that he hoped Labour’s shortcomings would also provide a lesson for other political parties in fighting “antisemitism, Islamophobia and other forms of racism that still unfortunately infect our community”.

Due to the coronavirus, Mr Corbyn’s successor will no longer be unveiled at a “special conference” as planned.

Instead, the winner and their deputy will be announced at a scaled-back event with candidates having pre-recorded victory speeches.

Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Kir Starmer, shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey and Wigan MP Lisa Nandy all remain in the race for leader while Angela Rayner, Dawn Butler, Ian Murray, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan and Richard Burgon will seek to become deputy.

Voters, made up of party members, members of affiliated trades unions and groups, as well as “registered supporters”, had until 12pm yesterday to make their voices heard.

The winners will assume their roles immediately, leaving Mr Corbyn to return to the backbenches unless he is given a role in the shadow cabinet.

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