LABOUR is ‘institutionally racist’, one of its MPs said yesterday.
Chuka Umunna said it was ‘very painful’ to make the accusation — famously levelled at police over their flawed investigation into the racist murder of 18-year-old Stephen Lawrence.
But he said the party’s attitide to Jewish people matched the definition of institutional racism given in the Macpherson report into Stephen’s death in 1993.
The ex-frontbencher (pictured) told Sky News show Sophy Ridge on Sunday he would remain a member to try to bring about change, rather than quit. ‘Part of the reason that I joined the Labour Party and my family started supporting the party was because it was an anti-racist party,’ he said.
Mr Umunna added to Metro columnist Ridge: ‘It’s a sadness to listen to you talk about what has happened over the summer, because we failed to deal with this issue properly.’
He said Labour should have adopted the International Holocaust Memorial Alliance’s definition of anti-semitism at the start of summer, instead of doing so last week after months of rows.
The former leadership hopeful was urged on the programme to apologise for saying Labour should ‘call off the dogs’ to stop MPs being driven out by left-wingers in constituency parties.
The party’s chairman Ian Lavery said: ‘Calling anybody a dog is absolutely outrageous in the extreme, and Chuka of all people should know that.’
But Mr Umunna said: ‘The phrase I used is a metaphor, a figure of speech.’
Former chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission Trevor Phillips claimed yesterday Labour is ‘led by anti-Semites and racists’.
The party member added: ‘They basically want to eliminate anyone who disagrees with them.’
Mr Corbyn’s office said the comments were ‘wrong and offensive’.