Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been suspended from the party over anti-Semitism claims after a report pinned the blame for failures for tackling the discrimination at his door.
Keir Starmer made the move after Corbyn rejected the findings of the Equality and Human Rights Commission investigation, saying they were “dramatically overstated”.
There had been calls for Starmer to withdraw the whip from the former leader after the report concluding the investigation was published.
Corbyn wrote in a social media statement: “One antisemite 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. That combination hurt Jewish people and must never be repeated.
“My sincere hope is that relations with Jewish communities can be rebuilt and those fears overcome. While I do not accept all of its findings, I trust its recommendations will be swiftly implemented to help move on from this period.”
In interviews, Corbyn responded to Keir Starmer’s claim he was part of the problem by saying: “No, I’m not part of the problem.”
But EHRC lead investigator Alasdair Henderson rejected Corbyn’s claim that the scale of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party was “dramatically overstated”.
Asked about the former Labour leader’s response, Mr Henderson said: “I can only take you back to the findings of our report and ask you to compare them. We found two specific unlawful acts, 18 more in the sample that we found, and that’s the tip of the iceberg.
“There were a lot more instances of anti-Semitic conduct by members of the party in that large group of files that we looked at which didn’t quite meet the threshold for us to say they were an unlawful act, but were definitely there and taking place.”
A Labour Party spokesman said: “In light of his comments made today and his failure to retract them subsequently, the Labour Party has suspended Jeremy Corbyn pending investigation.
“He has also had the whip removed from the Parliamentary Labour Party.”
BBC Newsnight commentator Lewis Goodall tweeted: “This now has become a seminal moment. I cannot think of any kind of parallel. The man who was leader of the Labour Party in April, who Labour was putting forward as prime minister in December, who Keir Starmer described recently as ‘a friend’, is no longer a Labour MP.”
Tory Party co-chairman Amanda Milling wrote: “Many will be asking themselves why it took this long to act.
“This morning (Sir Keir Starmer) failed to say seven times that he would take action against Corbyn and now he has been pushed to do so. Hardly leadership.”