Wes Streeting MP: ‘The Conservatives have their own problems with racism’ as Labour’s antisemitism row continues

Wes Streeting MP: ‘The Conservatives have their own problems with racism’ as Labour’s antisemitism row continues

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Wes Streeting MP has said that the antisemitism had done “enormous damage” to Labour’s reputation but that the Conservatives “have their own problems with racism”.

Wes Streeting, the Labour MP for Ilford North told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer: “Our failure to properly address antisemitism within our ranks has done enormous damage to Labour’s reputation.”

He added: “The Conservatives have their own problems on racism whether it is the Windrush scandal or Conservative Islamophobia.

“The antisemitism row has been about whether the Labour Party can be trusted to tackle racism.

“What I would say to the people who are saying that they have got to leave the Labour Party because it can’t tackle racism, is we cannot keep the Conservatives in either because they have shown through their immigration policy and Islamophobia in the party that they have their own problems.”

This comes as the Labour Party’s ruling body is set to meet later on Tuesday to discuss whether it will adopt the international definition of antisemitism.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's definition was incorporated into Labour's code of conduct in July - but not all its examples were included.

Julia Hartley-Brewer responded: “There will be racism in every party, there is no question at all about that. 

“I don’t think anyone is thinking that there is Islamophobia at the top of the Conservative Party.

“We have councillors in every party that say horrible things and get outed.”


‘Our actual differences are very small’

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn defended the exclusion of the examples in a Guardian article in August.

Mr Corbyn said: "Our actual differences are in fact very small - they really amount to half of one example out of 11, touching on free speech in relation to Israel.”

"It is unfortunately the case that this particular example, dealing with Israel and racism, has sometimes been used by those wanting to restrict criticism of Israel that is not anti-Semitic. The Commons Home Affairs Committee acknowledged this risk when it looked at the IHRA examples."