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July 17, 2019 3:58 pm

British PM May Blasts Corbyn Over Labour Antisemitism, Saying He Has ‘Failed the Test of Leadership’

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

British Prime Minister Theresa May delivers a statement in the Parliament in London, March 25, 2019, in this still image taken from video. Photo: Reuters TV / via Reuters.

British Prime Minister Theresa May blasted Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the House of Commons on Wednesday on the issue of antisemitism, saying he must “apologize for his failure to deal with racism” in his party.

Since Corbyn took control of Labour in 2015, the party has been wracked by antisemitism scandals. Earlier this week, a scathing BBC Panorama special revealed the extent of the problem, prompting renewed condemnations of Corbyn’s leadership and calls for him to resign.

During Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons, Corbyn rose to ask May a question on climate change.

May took advantage of the moment to say, “Before the right honorable gentleman stands up and parades himself as the champion of climate change, the champion of the people, or the defender of equality and fairness, he needs to apologize for his failure to deal with racism in the Labour party.”

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“Just today,” she added, “60 distinguished members of the Labour party have written in the newspapers, ‘The Labour party welcomes everyone*… (*except, it seems, Jews). … This is your legacy Mr. Corbyn. … You still haven’t opened your eyes. … You still haven’t told the whole truth. … You still haven’t accepted your responsibility. … You have failed … the test of leadership.’”

“Apologize now,” May demanded.

Corbyn replied, “This party totally opposes racism in any form whatsoever. Antisemitism has no place in our society.”

He then attacked May’s Conservative party for Islamophobia, saying, “The prime minister has said that she will act on Islamophobia within her own party. I hope she does.”

May did not let go of the issue, saying, “The right honorable gentleman, I note, did not apologize in response to my first questions.”

“We deal with Islamophobia in the Conservative party,” she asserted. “Any allegations of Islamophobia are dealt with, unlike his way in the Labour party where he is failing to deal with antisemitism.”

“He can stand up and say all he likes about the Labour party introducing anti-racism legislation,” she said. “Just last week, Trevor Phillips, the former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said the following: ‘Labour today presents like a textbook case of institutional racism.’”

Corbyn subsequently reiterated, “This party opposes racism in any form whatsoever in our society.”

After a brief exchange on environmental issues, May added, “The right honorable gentleman talks about dodging responsibility. The person who has been dodging his responsibility during this PMQs is the right honorable gentleman.”

“The real disgrace is his handling of racism in the Labour party,” she said.

Citing previous Labour luminaries, May asked, “Activists protesting, MPs leaving, and staff resigning — what would his great heroes Attlee, Bevan, and Benn think? Look what he has done to their party. We will never let him do it to our country.”

Watch the full exchange below (via The Guardian):

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