Former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott has said its “absolute bloody nonsense” to call the Labour Party a racist party.
Prescott, who served under Tony Blair between 1997 and 2007, came to the defence of Jeremy Corbyn and his party amid growing anti-Semitism concerns.
The Labour party is facing further criticism after Peter Willsman, a member of Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC), was caught on tape calling Jewish people ‘Trump fanatics’.
Joining Julia Hartley-Brewer on the No Nonsense Breakfast Show on talkRADIO, Prescott did admit that the party have not “handled it well” but were in the process of “discussing” the issue.
“Of course I’m proud to be in the Labour Party,” he said.
“I’ve been in it for 60 years, and 50 years of it were in Parliament, and I’ve seen all these movements from break-away parties, complaints, controversy and normally in the past, it’s been about left and ring and now it’s a much more personal thing.
“I think this terrible business about anti-Semitism, I don’t think we’ve handled it well, but a good example we did sign up for this principle in 2016, it’s the qualifications that have caused a little bit of difficulty and we’re in the process of discussing it.
“I wish people would stop with the insulting and the abuse, and sit down and talk about it.
“I have to say this, what’s made me a bit angry about it is; there’s people going around quoting, saying all the Jewish people, millions of the public and many of Labour party think we’re a racist party… it’s absolute bloody nonsense, that’s not true that.”
Hartley-Brewer questioned whether he thought the Labour Party needed a new leader to deal with this issue and help the party move forward.
“No, I think he was a man who was elected by party members,” he said.
To which Hartley-Brewer replied: “That’s not the question I asked you.”