Left has problem with antisemitism, says Labour’s Chuka Umunna

By Marcus Dysch, February 26, 2016
Chuka Umunna (Picture:Twitter/@ChukaUmunna)

Chuka Umunna (Picture:Twitter/@ChukaUmunna)

Sections of the political left have a problem with antisemitism, according to one of Labour’s most prominent figures.

Chuka Umunna, who is investigating the reasons behind party’s declining appeal to ethnic minority voters, said it would be “disingenuous” to deny there was an issue to be tackled in regards to Jew-hatred.

Mr Umunna was the party’s Shadow Business Secretary under Ed Miliband’s leadership but left the frontbench following Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader.

His review of why ethnic minorities turned away from Labour in last May’s poll has Mr Corbyn’s backing.

Mr Umunna told Parliament’s The House magazine: “I don’t think we have a problem with antisemitism as a party.

“I think there is a problem with antisemitism on the fringes of the left, there is no doubt about that; it would be completely disingenuous to deny that.”

He said hatred and racism of any variety required a “zero tolerance policy”.

His comments come as the results of an investigation into allegations of antisemitism at Oxford University’s Labour Club are due to be announced.

It is believed that two of the club’s members, possibly aligned to the left-wing grassroots Momentum movement, have been questioned. Momentum has denied its members were involved.

Mr Umuna singled out former London mayor Ken Livingstone, saying the Labour veteran was “the obvious example” of someone who had offended Jews.

Asked by the magazine whether Mr Livingstone’s comments on recent issues relating to the party had been helpful, Mr Umunna said: “No.”

“There are some people who have clearly said some things which have very much offended the Jewish community. Ken Livingstone's the obvious example,” he added.

Last updated: 3:49pm, February 26 2016