Suspended Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has stepped back from the comments on anti-Semitism in the party that led to his controversial suspension last month.
Ahead of the first meeting of Labour’s newly-elected National Executive Committee (NEC) on Tuesday, Corbyn posted a statement on Facebook stressing that he had not meant to downplay the seriousness of anti-Semitism allegations within the party in a bid to have his Labour membership and the Parliamentary party whip restored.
“To be clear, concerns about antisemitism are neither ‘exaggerated’ nor ‘overstated’,” he wrote. “The point I wished to make was that the vast majority of Labour Party members were and remain committed anti-racists deeply opposed to antisemitism.”
The former leader thanked thousands of Labour and trade union members and others across Britain and the world for their solidarity in opposing his suspension, and expressed hope that the issue would be resolved quickly “so that the party can work together to root out antisemitism and unite to oppose and defeat this deeply damaging Conservative government.”
Current Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer suspended Corbyn, a Labour member for 54 years and an MP for 37, and withdrew the whip over his comments on the Equalities and Human Rights Commission report into the party, published on October 29.
While Corbyn said then that “one anti-Semite is one too many” in the party, he insisted that “the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media.”