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A Labour MP who has repeatedly attacked Jeremy Corbyn for ‘not doing enough about antisemitism’ has been roundly criticised after attempting to defend a right-wing Labour Peer who was sacked over comments described as “grossly insensitive to Jewish staff“, and which are said to ‘breach the IHRA definition of antisemitism’.
On Wednesday evening, Jeremy Corbyn took the decision to sack Labour Peer, Dianne Hayter, from the Shadow Cabinet after it emerged that she had compared his leadership team, which includes a number of Jewish staff such as James Schneider and Carl Shoben, to Nazis.
Speaking during a meeting of the right-wing Labour First faction, Hayter attempted to compare the behaviour of Jeremy Corbyn’s inner circle with the last days of Hitler, stating:
“Those of you who haven’t [read the book] will have seen the film Bunker, about the last days of Hitler, where you stop receiving any information into the inner group which suggests that things are not going the way you want.”
“That seems to be where we are at the moment: having the leadership in a bunker so they are not hearing in those views, that evidence, that is in conflict with what they are trying to do, to the extent that even undermines what they are trying to do.”
Following the emergence of her comments, Hayter was immediately sacked from her position as a Shadow Brexit Minister, with a Labour spokesperson stating:
“Dianne Hayter has been sacked from the frontbench position with immediate effect for her deeply offensive remarks about Jeremy Corbyn and his office.”
“To compare the Labour leader and the Labour Party staff working to elect a Labour government to the Nazi regime is truly contemptible, and grossly insensitive to Jewish staff in particular.”
In September 2018, Labour adopted the IHRA definition of antisemitism in full into their rulebook, and Ms Hayter’s comments – which actively compare a number of Jewish staff to Nazis – have been widely described as being ‘in breach of the definition’.
Furthermore, Labour members using such ‘Hitler metaphors’ is specifically mentioned as highly insensitive in the Chakrabarti Report – Labour’s official inquiry into antisemitism.
Despite this, Labour MP Wes Streeting – who has repeatedly criticised Jeremy Corbyn for supposedly not doing enough to combat antisemitism in the party – attempted to defend Hayter, describing her sacking as “a gross over-reaction“:
A gross over-reaction to what @HayteratLords actually said – but does reinforce what she did describe, which was a bunker mentality at the top. This epitomises it. Nice to know that swift action is taken to protect @jeremycorbyn’s feelings, but shame we can’t act against racists. https://t.co/u76MqRbjLn
— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) July 17, 2019
Streeting has also previously stated his belief that there should be “no compromising on the IHRA definition and all of its examples“:
To be clear: there is no compromising on the IHRA definition and all of its examples. Hopefully this is now well understood.
— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) August 15, 2018
Responding to Streeting’s defence of Hayter, the Editor of Novara Media, Aaron Bastani, claimed that the Labour MP should also be suspended for defending Hayter’s ‘antisemitic comments’, stating:
“There are Jewish people among Corbyn’s staff, and inner circle. Hayter’s comments, according to the IHRA, are anti-Semitic.”
“Which means Hayter should be suspended. And if Streeting thinks her behaviour is acceptable so should he.”
There are Jewish people among Corbyn’s staff, and inner circle. Hayter’s comments, according to the IHRA, are anti-Semitic.
Which means Hayter should be suspended. And if Streeting thinks her behaviour is acceptable so should he. pic.twitter.com/Gnz8duGh9o
— Aaron Bastani (@AaronBastani) July 17, 2019
Streeting’s attempt to defend the right-wing Labour Peer was also roundly criticised as hypocritical by numerous other social meda users:
She called people including jewish comrades Nazi's fell foul of IHRA antisemitism definition. Can't have 1 rule for people you agree with politically and another rule for everyone else
— M. Ali Dogan (@alidogan_uk) July 17, 2019
Or in your own words… pic.twitter.com/KIDBIHz1bP
— Rachael Swindon (@Rachael_Swindon) July 17, 2019
Under IHRA rulings this is Anti-Semitic @wesstreeting
Complaint to LAB party next.
Please join me!
— Bevan Boy #NHSPay15 (@mac123_m) July 17, 2019
Broke the IHRA definition – make your mind up Wes, or is it only ran just when it can be used to attack Corbyn?
— Damien Willey (@Cornish_Damo) July 17, 2019
Streeting is widely believed to be under threat of deselection by his local Ilford North CLP during this summer’s reselection process.