Jeremy Corbyn has acknowledged anti-Semitism complaints in Labour were not “exaggerated” just weeks after being suspended for saying they were in a move to have the party reinstate him.
The former Labour leader had the whip withdrawn and was suspended from the party over his response to a damning Equality and Human Rights Commission which found that the party had broken the law in its handling of anti-Semitism complaints.
Corbyn revealed he had given a statement to Labour in an attempt to “clear up any confusion” over his initial response and a broadcast interview given in the wake of the report.
The former leader had claimed that while “one anti-Semite is one too many” 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”.
His suspension came after his successor as Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said that people who believed it was “exaggerated, or a factional attack” were “part of the problem” and “should be nowhere near the Labour Party either”.
Corbyn revealed what he had said to Labour in a statement aimed at clarifying his comments.
“We must never tolerate anti-Semitism or belittle concerns about it,” he said.
“And that was not my intention in anything I said this week. I regret the pain this issue has caused the Jewish community and would wish to do nothing that would exacerbate or prolong it.
“To be clear, concerns about anti-Semitism are neither ‘exaggerated’ nor ‘overstated’.
“The point I wished to make was that the vast majority of Labour Party members were and remain committed anti-racists deeply opposed to anti-Semitism.”
MPs and activists loyal to Corbyn have campaigned for him to be reinstated and the former leader thanked them for their support.
“I’m grateful to the many thousands of Labour party members, trade unionists, and supporters in Britain and around the world, who have offered their solidarity,” he said.
“I hope this matter is resolved as quickly as possible, so that the party can work together to root out anti-Semitism and unite to oppose and defeat this deeply damaging Conservative government.”