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Keir Starmer labelled 'desperate' over frantic bid to distance himself from Jeremy Corbyn

NewsKeir Starmer labelled 'desperate' over frantic bid to distance himself from Jeremy Corbyn

High profile members of the shadow cabinet have been door-knocking ahead of the local elections next week with members from its Middle East sister party. Sir Keir, deputy leader Angela Rayner and others have hosted the officials in recent days while interacting with the public.

The Labour chief is eager to draw a line under the anti-Semitism in the party when his predecessor was in charge.

Israeli officials were taken on the campaign trail in Barnet, north London where the party underperformed last time round in 2018.

Labour had hoped to win control of the borough for the first time since the local authority was created in 1964 but faced backlash from voters on the doorstep.

Jewish Labour activists spoke of outrage in the area at the last local elections as a result of claims of anti-Semitism.

READ MORE: Labour vs Conservative: Sir Keir hopes dashed for May elections

Barnet has one of the UK’s biggest Jewish communities, making up 15.5 percent of the borough’s population.

Conservative MP for Chipping Barnet, Theresa Villiers, said Sir Keir Starmer’s attempts to boost support were doomed to fail.

She told Express.co.uk: “People in Barnet haven’t forgotten that Keir Starmer campaigned for Jeremy Corbyn to be our Prime Minister.”

The former minsiter added: This is a desperate bid by Labour to try to distance themselves from the institutional anti-Semitism that has infected their party in recent years.

“They may be throwing the kitchen sink at the elections in Barnet, but this cannot disguise the racism that has been established in Labour.

“Nor will it get them off the hook on their record in local government in north London which is higher council tax, poor services, and caving into Sadiq Khan on new charges on drivers.”

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An investigation by the equalities watchdog concluded in October 2020 that there had been “serious failings in the Labour party leadership in addressing anti-Semitism and an inadequate process for handling anti-Semitism complaints”.

Mr Corbyn has since had the Labour whip removed after he responded to the findings by claiming the scale of anti-Semitism within Labour had been “dramatically overstated”.

When Sir Keir was elected as Labour leader he vowed to win back the trust of Jewish voters.

He said in his acceptance speech: “Anti-Semitism has been a stain on our party.

“I have seen the grief that it’s brought to so many Jewish communities.

“On behalf of the Labour Party, I am sorry.

“And I will tear out this poison by its roots and judge success by the return of Jewish members and those who felt that they could no longer support us.”

Ms Rayner 18 months ago also pledged to suspend “thousands and thousands” of Labour members unless they “get real” about anti-Semitism.

The local elections take place next Thursday, May 5.

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