East Worthing and Shoreham’s MP helped question Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as part of an inquiry into anti-Semitism last week.
After former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone and other members were suspended following allegations of anti-Semitic comments, the Labour Party commissioned an inquiry into the issue by human rights barrister Shami Chakrabarti.
Her report was published at the end of June and was followed by Mr Corbyn appearing before the House of Commons’ Home Affairs Select Committee last Monday (July 4) as part of an inquiry into the rise of anti-Semitism.
East Worthing and Shoreham MP Tim Loughton asked if Mr Corbyn had ‘misspoke’ when he called Hamas and Hezbollah his ‘friends’.
Mr Corbyn replied: “It was inclusive language I used in order to promote what I hoped was going to be a productive dialogue.”
He added: “I would rather have used other words.”
Mr Loughton then asked about comments made by Seumas Milne, Mr Corbyn’s director of communications, where at a rally he had praised Hamas’ ‘spirit of resistance’ and chanted ‘they will not be broken’.
Mr Corbyn replied: “I do not think it’s appropriate for me to be asked about the opinions of every member of staff I employ.”
He was ‘pleased’ that the extent of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party was ‘limited’, but he wanted it ‘eliminated’.
Mr Loughton then suggested that Mr Corbyn had a problem with people who raised the issue of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, especially a case of one journalist where he said the Labour leader had accused him of ‘utterly disgusting subliminal nastiness’ and ‘written him off in such a harsh way’.
Mr Corbyn said: “He [the journalist] has said there has been a rise in anti-Semitism in the party in general terms since I became leader. I do not accept that, I’m absolutely opposed to anti-Semitism in any forms.”
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