Jeremy Corbyn's Labour party is institutionally racist says Chuka Umunna

Leon Neal/GettyChuka Umunna MP.
  • Labour MP Chuka Umunna says his party is institutionally racist.
  • In a blistering column, the former shadow minister said most Labour MPs were at “breaking point” at the antisemitism scandal which has engulfed the party this summer.
  • Umunna questioned whether Jeremy Corbyn should lead the party going forward.
  • He said Labour does not deserve to be in power. “So what are we left with? Two parties that do not have the authority to lead the country,” he wrote.

LONDON – Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour is institutionally racist with most of its MPs at “breaking point” over the antisemitism crisis which has engulfed the party, a leading Labour MP has claimed.

Writing for The Independent, the former shadow minister Chuka Umunna said the Labour party, led by Corbyn, was guilty of institutional racism towards Jewish people.

“In short, the Jewish community has clearly been subject to differential treatment by our party these past couple of years that is discriminatory,” Umunna wrote, adding it is “beyond doubt” that Labour has met the criteria for institutional racism,as set out in Rob Macpherson’s 1999 report into institutional racism in the UK police.

He added: “The Macpherson Report defined institutional racism as ‘the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture, or ethnic origin.’

“It said this ‘can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people.’

“Based on its actions (or failure to act), it is beyond doubt that Labour, as an institution, meets these criteria insofar as the Jewish community is concerned – something which should shame every member of our party.”

The latest row in Labour’s antisemitism scandal centres on pictures which reportedly show Labour leader Corbyn laying a wreath for terrorists who killed 11 Israelis and a police officer in Munich in 1972.

Accusations of antisemitism against Labour members and Corbyn have dominated the summer, and Umunna said it is “extraordinary” that the party leadership hasn’t held an emergency meeting to address the crisis.

The MP for Streatham claimed most Labour MPs are “horrified” by the antisemitism scandal and “are being pushed to breaking point” over the issue. John Woodcock, the MP for Barrow and Furness, has already quit Labour over its handling of antisemitism accusations.

The former Labour leadership candidate questioned whether Corbyn should continue to lead the party, saying the wreath-laying fiasco was “the latest example” of why “the overwhelming majority of Labour MPs did not believe he was fit to lead the party in the first instance.”

Jeremy CorbynRob Stothard / Stringer / Getty Images

Umunna is among a handful of MPs thought to be considering creating a new centrist force in British politics amid increasing disillusion among some “moderate” MPs and the parties for which they were elected.

In his column for The Independent, he said neither Labour or the Conservatives deserved to be in power, writing: “So what are we left with? Two parties that do not have the authority to lead the country.”

Business Insider reported last week that MPs including Umunna, Tory Anna Soubry and Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable have discussed establishing a new centrist movement, with a new party being one suggestion.

A source close to Umunna said he penned the article because he believes “the far right (now led by Boris Johnson) and far left are two sides of the same coin. The truth is that just as it is the case that the far right sows the seeds of division and seeks to ‘other’ people, the same happens on the far left too.”

On the Conservatives, Umunna said Theresa May’s party has a racism problem of its own, pointing to how Tory members have reacted to Boris Johnson’s recent remarks about Muslim women who were the burqa.

“How else does one explain that, in spite of all of this, he is now odds-on favourite to succeed Theresa May as Prime Minister? The attitudes of many Tory members account for the party’s habit of turning a blind eye to hate,” he said.

The former foreign secretary is currently under investigation by Conservative party officials for comparing Muslim women who wear the burqa to “letter boxes” and bank robbers.

Umunna said Johnson set out to deliberately offend people. “It is inconceivable that in using these words he did not know he would cause huge offence – that was the whole point of it, as is so often the case with Johnson,” he wrote

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