Almost half of all Labour members believe the party’s antisemitism crisis has been created by the media to attack Jeremy Corbyn, a new poll has revealed.
Asked what they made of the stories about Labour and antisemitism over the past few weeks, 49 per cent of party members felt the issue was a creation of the press, aimed at harming the leader.
Just one in 10 felt Labour had a problem with Jew-hate and that the media was right to report on it.
The poll was carried out by YouGov for The Times, questioning 1,031 Labour members last week.
Around one in three members – 35 per cent – acknowledged the party had a problem with antisemitism, but felt it was being exploited “by the press and Jeremy Corbyn’s opponents to attack him”.
When the polling company asked supporters of particular senior Labour figures, including Mr Corbyn’s three leadership opponents, 62 per cent of members who voted for Mr Corbyn to run the party backed the theory that “the Labour party does not have a problem with antisemitism”.
Supporters of former Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper were most heavily in favour of the suggestion that the issue was being used to attack Mr Corbyn, with 42 per cent of those who voted for her backing the belief that the press was using the crisis against the leader.
Supporters of MP Liz Kendall, who came fourth in last summer’s leadership contest, were most willing to accept that antisemitism was an issue – 46 per cent of those who voted for her said the media was right to carry reports on the issue.
Just under one in five supporters of Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham – 17 per cent – accepted that the party had an antisemitism problem.
Labour’s independent inquiry into antisemitism was formally launched by Shami Chakrabarti in Parliament on Monday .