Express & Star comment: Jeremy Corbyn has to face up to problems

The in-fighting within the Labour Party over anti-semitism is not going to go away for Jeremy Corbyn if he continues to act like an ostrich and bury his head in the sand.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

The Labour leader’s visit to Beechdale, Walsall, yesterday should have been positive PR for the Labour machine.

But it was completely overshadowed by all the baggage the row over anti-semitism and his attendance at a wreath laying ceremony at a Tunisian cemetery in 2014 has created.

He called for the investigation into Dudley North MP Ian Austin to be dealt with as quickly as possible, but is obstinately refusing to listen to the advice of his deputy Tom Watson, another Black Country MP, who is calling for the inquiry to be dropped.

The treatment of Mr Austin, a fierce opponent of anti-semitism, will not go away for Mr Corbyn and his support machine as long as he won’t listen to sensible people like Mr Watson warning him that this matter needs to be ended immediately.

While another MP Margaret Hodge has had her investigation quashed, Mr Austin is still facing possible suspension from the party over the internal inquiry into his behaviour in a heated argument with chairman Ian Lavery over tackling anti-semitism.

Mr Corbyn says he doesn’t want these things hanging around, but they just won’t go away if the process against Mr Austin is not dropped and he doesn’t take steps for the party’s new code of conduct to properly adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance wording.

The issue of anti-semitism is in danger of overwhelming everything else that Labour is trying to do.

Mr Corbyn still seems to be in denial by not taking firm action to sort out the mess and show people that his party will not tolerate anti-semitism.

By not acting to reassure people this is not his own thinking he is adding to a destructive flaw in the current party.

He needs now to listen to those who want Labour to be seen to fully embrace the Jewish community and not turn on those, like Mr Austin, who are warning of the consequences of not acting to stem anti-semitism within the party.

Mr Corbyn must now take this seriously and do the right thing.

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