Former Labor Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has come under renewed pressure to give up political ground so as to reclaim his party whip.
In the latest development, the party’s chief whip, Nick Brown, has sent a letter to Corbyn asking his former boss to “unequivocally” apologize for asserting that the scale of anti-Semitism in the party had been “overstated for political reasons”.
Brown, who has been a Labor MP for the Newcastle Upon Tyne East constituency since 1983, claims that Corbyn’s response to a report by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) had caused “distress and pain” to the Jewish community.
The publication of the EHRC report last month – and Corbyn’s immediate reaction to it – has been seized by Labor’s new leader, Keir Starmer, to effectively purge Corbyn and his supporters from the party.
Starmer is refusing to restore the party whip to Corbyn even after the latter’s party membership was restored by Labor’s National Executive Committee after a brief suspension.
In his immediate reaction t the EHRC report, Corbyn asserted that the scale of anti-Semitism in the party had been “overstated for political reasons”.
Brown – who appears to be intervening at the behest of Starmer – is asking Corbyn to “unequivocally, unambiguously and without reservation apologize for your comments”.
Brown is also demanding that Corbyn removes or edits his response on Facebook and in addition the former leader should “cooperate fully” with the party’s attempt to implement the EHRC’s recommendations.
Brown’s letter represents a significant escalation in the bitter row between Starmer and Corbyn over the ideological soul and future political direction of the Labor Party.
According to the BBC’s political correspondent, Iain Watson, Corbyn’s allies in the party now fear his suspension could be “indefinite” and that the dispute between the two leaders could “end up in the courts”.