Labour should change its rules to automatically throw out members involved in “clear” cases of antisemitism, a member of Jeremy Corbyn’s top team has said.
Shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer told Sky News the party has “got to take some action”.
“We do it where somebody supports another party at an election, we automatically exclude them or expel them, we should do the same in clear cases of antisemitism,” he said.
Sir Keir was speaking after a group of peers resigned the Labour whip over the party’s handling of antisemitism claims.
One of those who quit, former general secretary Lord Triesmann, claimed Mr Corbyn and “his circle” are “antisemitic”.
Lord Turnberg, a former president of the Royal College of Physicians, and former health minister Lord Darzi have also quit.
A Labour spokesman said the allegations from the trio were “false and offensive” and the party “completely rejects” the claims.
But Sir Keir pointedly struck a different tone in his Sky interview, saying Labour has a “problem” with antisemitism and “if you deny we’ve got a problem, that is part of the problem”.
He added: “We have got a duty, a duty, to do whatever is necessary to make sure that people like David and all the other people who have left for the same reason feel that they can rejoin the Labour Party because they have confidence in it.”
Labour said in a statement after yesterday’s resignations emerged that the party “at all levels is implacably opposed to antisemitism and is determined to root out this social cancer from our movement and society”.
They continued: “Labour is taking decisive action against antisemitism, doubling the number of staff dedicated to dealing with complaints and cases.
“And since Jennie Formby became general secretary, the rate at which antisemitism cases have been dealt with has increased four-fold.
“Our records show that antisemitism cases that have gone through the stages of our disciplinary procedures since September 2015 account for about 0.06% of the party’s membership.
“This represents a tiny minority, but one antisemite is one too many, and we will continue to act against this repugnant form of racism.”