Jeremy Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning was rocked by tensions over Labour’s continued failure to deal with its antisemitism problem, the JC has learned.
Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer insisted the party’s frontbench team should take greater responsibility for tackling the issue and made a point of asking for further discussion from others in the room.
Sources confirmed that Shadow Attorney General Baroness Chakrabarti looked “visibly distressed” as the effectiveness of her 2016 report into Labour’s antisemitism problem was questioned.
The JC has learned that Baroness Chakrabarti raised the party’s continued failure to deal with Ken Livingstone on four occasions during the meeting at Westminster. Mr Livingstone is currently suspended from the party after claiming that Hitler backed Zionism.
“Shami made it very clear how she was feeling,” a source told the JC. “She was determined to mention Ken in relation to the continued problems
“It was thanks to Keir Starmer that the issue of antisemitism was raised in full at the meeting.
“He was quite insistent on making sure the issue was discussed.
“There was a lot of unease in the room.
Jeremy Corbyn, the party leader, is believed to have referred to the issue in his opening remarks – but left a fuller discussion to his colleagues.
Meanwhile, Labour peer Lord Mendelsohn, president of the Commonwealth Jewish Council, has said Mr Corbyn has become “the problem not the solution” regarding antisemitism in Labour ranks.
The peer added: “I hope he has the personal commitment to address this rather than deflect the issue through convoluted statements and empty promises as has been the hallmark of previous responses.
"I urge the Jewish community to hold firm and wait for Labour to demonstrate that it is prepared to change by a concrete show of its determination to expel those guilty of using antisemitism, and evidence of a clear plan of action to address antisemitism in the Labour Party.
“This must go far beyond the feebleness of the Chakrabarti report which has done nothing to stop hate in the party and whose further adoption would make little difference. “