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Sir Keir Starmer has insisted there is “no need for a war or a split” inside the Labour Party as he faces pressure from within following the suspension of his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn. It comes after Sir Keir accepted all the findings of an investigation into the Opposition party’s failure to deal with anti-Semitism. The Labour leader addressed the rage he had sparked after the party withdrew the whip from Mr Corbyn over his response to the report’s findings.
He told LBC: “There is no need for a civil war on this.
“I think it is perfectly right and proper to unite the party, to stop the factional fighting, but at the same time to make good on my commitment to root out anti-Semitism. That requires difficult decisions.”
It has been reported that Mr Corbyn convened a sort of council of war with some of his colleagues and allies following the suspension.
Sir Keir answered whether he was concerned if these reports were true.
He told LBC: “I don’t know about that, but I would say to everyone in the Labour Party that there is no need for a war or a split on this.
“The vast majority of our members and supporters were shocked by the report’s findings yesterday and want us to move on in a constructive way implementing the recommendations.
“That’s what we should be focused on, that is the way to unite the party.
“I was very clear in my response to the report that the Labour Party I lead will not tolerate anti-Semitism, nor will it tolerate the argument that there isn’t really any anti-Semitism, it’s all exaggerated or factional, because that’s part of the problem.”
The Labour leader added: “On top of the grief that’s already been caused, to respond to the report by saying ‘oh well it’s exaggerated, it’s just factional stuff’ adds to that grief and I made that very clear in my response.
“I had spoken to Jeremy Corbyn the night before the report and there’d been further conversations yesterday morning, so Jeremy’s team knew very well where I was going with this – no anti-Semitism, no denial or minimising which is part of the problem.
“Therefore when I saw his response I was really disappointed in that response to these very serious findings by an independent body.”
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Mr Corbyn was suspended and had the whip removed for a statement he made in relation to the report.
In that statement, he said: “One anti-Semite is one too many.
“But the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media.”
The former party leader’s failure to retract his comments was a point of contention for many.
The Labour Party also say that an investigation into his comments is pending.
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