Leader of Preston Council signs letter supporting Jeremy Corbyn amid anti-Semitism row
The Leader of Labour-run Preston Council has signed a letter supporting Jeremy Corbyn amid the anti-Semitism row engulfing his leadership of the national party.
Council leader Coun Matthew Brown has signed a letter from Labour councillors across the country backing Mr Corbyn's leadership.
The letter reads:
"We are elected councillors who are proud to publicly represent the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
"We feel compelled to write this letter to express our support for Jeremy Corbyn while he is personally subjected to accusations of racism and antisemitism.
"He is a decent man who has fought hate and fascism throughout his life.
"It is unjust to witness such a personal attack on a man, who was twice democratically elected because of such principles."
Cabinet member for Community Wealth Building, Labour Coun Freddie Bailey, has also signed the letter along with fellow Labour Coun Ismail Bax.
Coun Brown took to Twitter to publicise his decision to sign the letter, urging fellow Labour councillors to follow in his footsteps.
It comes after the Sunday Times reported that Labour had received 863 complaints of alleged anti-Semitism against party members, including councillors.
The newspaper claimed leaked e-mails it had seen showed more than half of alleged cases of anti-Semitism remained unresolved while there had been no investigation into 28 per cent of them.
It said fewer than 30 people had been expelled while members investigated for posting online comments such as "Heil Hitler" and "Jews are the problem" had not been suspended.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has also announced it is conducting its own wide-ranging investigation into whether Labour "unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised people because they are Jewish". Labour said it would co-operate fully.
The open letter from councillors in support of Mr Corbyn adds:
"We owe it to ourselves to fight the scourge of antisemitism, and all other forms of hate and racism both within our party and society. We believe that a vast majority of Labour members are good, honest people who wish to create a society free from bigotry and discrimination. If there are incidents of racism, antisemitism or any forms of hate we all demand action is taken.
"We strongly believe there is now a rigorous effort to reform and improve the inadequate disciplinary processes that our current General Secretary, Jennie Formby, inherited when she took over the role last year. There is still more work to be done, but we have every confidence that Jennie Formby can do this whilst protecting members’ rights to natural justice and due process.
"The targeting of Jeremy Corbyn – who has a lifelong record of opposition to all forms of antisemitism, racism and hate, even when this has meant him speaking as a minority – undermines all of our efforts to achieve a fair and just society free from all forms of hate. We have no doubt in his integrity and sincerity in fighting discrimination, and we are proud to give Jeremy Corbyn the full support he deserves."