This is what Sheffield's Labour politicians had to say about the suspension of former leader Jeremy Corbyn over response to antisemitism report
In the wake of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension from the party over his response to a damning report into antisemitism, we asked Sheffield’s Labour politicians whether they agreed with the decision.
In a report released on Thursday, the Equality and Human Rights Commission found Labour responsible for "unlawful" harassment and discrimination during Mr Corbyn's four-and-a-half years as leader.
In response to the findings Mr Corbyn said he was “always determined to eliminate all forms of racism” but said he believed the scale of antisemitism within Labour had been "dramatically overstated" by opponents.
A Labour spokesman said Mr Corbyn was suspended "for a failure to retract" his words.
Mr Corbyn reacted by calling the move "political" and promised to "strongly contest" it.
Sheffield City Region mayor, and Barnsley Central MP praised current Labour leader, Keir Starmer, for the party’s decision to suspend his predecessor for his comments.
He said: "Today is a dark day in the history of the Labour Party, but Keir Starmer has shown real leadership in committing to the full implementation of the EHRC’s recommendations as a matter of urgency.
“There is no place in the Labour Party for antisemites, or for those who seek to minimise or excuse antisemitism in our ranks. Jeremy Corbyn’s comments, and his refusal to retract those comments, have left the Labour Party no option but to suspend him pending a full investigation.
“I will continue to work closely with our new leadership to eradicate the scourge of antisemitism from our movement and rebuild our relationship with the Jewish community.”
All five Labour MPs in Sheffield were contacted to comment on the suspension, but of those only Clive Betts, MP for Sheffield South East, responded. Olivia Blake, MP for Sheffield Hallam, and Gill Furniss, MP for Brightside and Hillsborough, declined to comment, Paul Blomfield, MP for Sheffield Central is currently on leave and Louise Haigh, MP for Sheffield Heeley, did not respond.
Mr Betts said: “The report from the Equalities and Human Rights Commission was damning, it is right that Keir Starmer said we accept the report in full and will implement it in full and that every party member should conform with that. If complaints are made about any party member at all, whoever they are, with regards to this then they should be dealt with according to the party’s process and procedures. Then we await the outcome of any complaints being looked at.”
Councillor Shaffaq Mohammed, leader of Sheffield Liberal Democrats, said he was waiting for the city's MPs to speak out and tweeted they should 'disown' the former leader.
He said: “Throughout this antisemitism issue nationally, Sheffield has not come out of this unscathed. We had the incident of Chris Williamson coming to Sheffield, then we had the Labour Party member in Heeley who put up the sign - so it’s very clear there has been issues of antisemitism here.
“Some of this city’s MPs now really have to come out. What we can’t have is our MPs on a big issue like this when it comes to racism staying quiet.
“The Equality and Human Rights Commission has only ever investigated one other party in its history and that was the BNP.”