North East Scotland MSP Mercedes Villalba tweeted last week: “Jeremy Corbyn is a Labour Party member and should have the whip restored to him immediately.”
Mr Corbyn was suspended by the Labour Party but shambolically readmitted, but the whip was not restored to him, leaving him in the absurd position of being a member of the Labour Party but an independent MP.
Ms Mercedes has previously spoken out in the support of the disgraced former leader.
Anas Sarwar, the Scottish Labour Leader, tried to distance himself from the Ms Villalba’s remarks but fell short of disciplining her. Asked if Mr Corbyn should apologise for his role in the Party’s antisemitism scandal, Mr Sarwar said: “Yes, I think that’s the least that anyone who has caused pain or hurt should do in that situation. The reality is that that is an internal disciplinary process and we have got to reflect on the impact that the antisemitism row – it was more than a row – had on communities across the country. I have been spending a lot of time speaking to the Jewish community here in Scotland and I have heard directly about the pain and the anguish that that whole episode caused and I am working to rebuild our relationship with all our communities across Scotland, including the Jewish community.
“As someone who has campaigned on Islamophobia and antisemitism and other forms of prejudice and hate, I know we can’t afford to be complacent. I would much prefer that those responsible for the pain apologised directly, reflected on their position. But I want us to focus on the future, not the past. I am not interested in past leaders or past problems or past issues. I am interested in the future and I expect every Labour MP, MSP and councillor to be focused on the future as well.”
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “Jeremy Corbyn’s absurd status as a Labour member who sits as an independent MP, when in fact he should not be in the Party at all, has left Labour and the public in confusion over Labour\s position on racism against Jews. If Anas Sarwar is serious when he says that the Party cannot be complacent in fighting antisemitism, then he must discipline Mercedes Villalba MSP for supporting the restoration of the whip to Mr Corbyn. Scottish Labour must decide whether it is a party of people who support the antisemite Jeremy Corbyn or not.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism has lodged a complaint against Mr Corbyn, holding him responsible for conduct that is prejudicial or grossly detrimental to the Labour Party, as the Leader during the period of the EHRC’s shameful findings. Given the serious detriment that this conduct has caused, we are seeking Mr Corbyn’s immediate resuspension and, if the complaint is upheld, we will be requesting his expulsion. On the day of the publication of the EHRC’s report, we also submitted a major complaint against Mr Corbyn and other sitting MPs.
The Labour Party was found by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to have engaged in unlawful discrimination and harassment of Jews. The report followed the EHRC’s investigation of the Labour Party in which Campaign Against Antisemitism was the complainant, submitting hundreds of pages of evidence and legal argument. Sir Keir Starmer called the publication of the report a “day of shame” for the Labour Party.
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Antisemitism Barometer 2019 showed that antisemitism on the far-left of British politics has surpassed that of the far-right.
Campaign Against Antisemitism advocates for zero tolerance of antisemitism in public life. To that end we monitor all political parties and strive to ensure that any cases of concern are properly addressed.