Jeremy Corbyn has admitted claims of antisemitism in the Labour Party were “neither exaggerated nor overstated” and that he regrets the impact of the issue on the Jewish community.
The former Labour leader’s comments follow his suspension from the party in October after claiming the scandal was “dramatically overstated for political reasons” by his critics.
In a Facebook post, he said he was keen to “clear up any confusion” about his previous statement, by claiming that he never meant to suggest that the problem with antisemitism under his leadership was overstated.
In a letter he sent to party officials following his suspension, published on Tuesday, he wrote: “We must never tolerate antisemitism or belittle concerns about it. 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.”
In the letter, he said he fully supports Sir Keir Starmer’s decision to accept the outcome of an investigation by the Equality and Human Right Commission (EHRC) – which found “unlawful acts of discrimination and harassment” perpetrated by Labour members.
“The publication of the EHRC report should have been a moment for the Labour Party to come together in a determination to address the shortcomings of the past and work as one to root out antisemitism in our own ranks and wider society,” he added.
The comments hint at his acknowledgement that not enough was done by the party under his leadership to tackle the issue.