Statement following video meeting between Labour Leader Keir Starmer, Deputy Leader Angela Rayner and representatives of the Jewish community

Today, new Labour Leader Keir Starmer and Deputy Leader Angela Rayner held a video meeting with representatives of the UK Jewish community from the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Jewish Leadership Council, the Community Security Trust and the Jewish Labour Movement.

After the meeting, new Labour Leader Keir Starmer said:

“I want to thank the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Jewish Leadership Council, the Community Security Trust and the Jewish Labour Movement for taking this opportunity to meet me, not least so close to Passover. It was very important to me to seek to address the disgrace of antisemitism in our party as soon as possible.

“Today, I repeated once again the apology I made as soon as I was elected leader.

“Over the last few years, we have failed the Jewish community on antisemitism. Labour is a proudly anti-racist party and, going forward, it will not be enough to ‘pass the test’ on antisemitism. We need to set new standards for best practice.

“At today’s meeting, I committed to begin work on setting up an independent complaints process, cooperating fully with the EHRC’s inquiry and asking for a report on all outstanding cases to be on my desk at the week. I also discussed with Jewish Labour Movement my ambition to roll out training of all Labour Party staff in as soon as practically possible.”

On behalf of the communal delegation, Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl, JLC Chair Jonathan Goldstein, CST Chair Gerald Ronson and JLM Chair Mike Katz, said:

“While we would have fully understood the need to focus entirely on Coronavirus at this time, Keir Starmer has already achieved in four days more than his predecessor in four years in addressing antisemitism within the Labour Party.

“As we discussed with Keir and Angela, we want to have a normal relationship with Labour whereby we can discuss the full range of issues affecting our community, from religious freedom to Israel, from Jewish schools to poverty, from refugees to the environment – and not just antisemitism.”

“This has certainly been a good start. If the new Labour leadership continues in this way, we can work together to make the changes that will make Labour a proudly anti-racist party once again.”