Jo Swinson has condemned Jeremy Corbyn for his handling of Labour’s antisemitism crisis in a strong rebuke as she launched the Liberal Democrats’ general election campaign this morning.
Asked in the press conference whether she might potentially back Mr Corbyn as Prime Minister in return for concessions on Brexit policy, Ms Swinson said that she “categorically” rules out the prospect of Liberal Democrats’ votes putting Mr Corbyn into Downing Street, insisting that the Labour leader is not fit to be Prime Minister.
Ms Swinson, who leads the Liberal Democrats, noted her opposition to his positions on Brexit, the economy and national security, but then she turned to antisemitism, and stated:: “Most importantly, the reason why people are Remain [on the Brexit question] is about values, and one of those values is so important – is the value of equality – for recognising that people can be themselves, as individuals, whatever the colour of their skin, whatever G-d they pray to, whoever they are. And Jeremy Corbyn’s complete and utter failure to root out antisemitism in his own Party, is a – just – total dereliction of duty when it comes to protecting that value of equality.”
She noted that Luciana Berger, a former Labour MP who resigned from the Party over antisemitism and is now a Liberal Democrat candidate, “was driven out of the Labour Party”, and that Dame Louise Ellman MP also recently resigned over Labour antisemitism as well. Reacting to those resignations, Ms Swinson said: “Anybody as a Party leader in that situation should be very clearly examining their conscience about what is happening in that Party – and even now he [Mr Corbyn] is not doing it. He dismisses that the problem is even there [sic]. He’s not fit to be the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.”
Ms Swinson has previously declared that the Liberal Democrats would not back Mr Corbyn as Prime Minister. However, a few weeks ago, Campaign Against Antisemitism wrote to all the Opposition parties in Parliament (other than Labour) asking whether they would rule out making Mr Corbyn Prime Minister, and we were disappointed that although some Party leaders did respond, Ms Swinson did not.
On 28th May, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a full statutory investigation following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
Over 57,000 people have now signed our petition denouncing Jeremy Corbyn as an antisemite and declaring him “unfit to hold any public office.”