Happy-Go-Lucky actor Eddie Marsan has attacked Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as “either an antisemite, or ignorant” at a Liberal Democrats event today.
The actor, who has campaigned against anti-Jewish racism, told supporters and journalists that despite voting for Labour since the 1980s he would back the Lib Dems in 2019.
“It feels good,” he added. “Like a political enema.”
Labour-turned-Lib Dem candidates Chuka Umunna and Luciana Berger bemoaned Corbyn and his team for having taken a position that “protected” antisemitism, rather than weeding it out.
Asked whether she thought Corbyn was antisemitic or ignorant, Berger – who is standing in Finchley and Golders Green – said she could only “judge by his actions” and that he had “indulged in antisemitic activity”.
She added: “You can get it wrong once, twice at a push, but the number of examples that we know about is unacceptable.”
Umunna also pointed to the party’s problem with antisemitism as justification for pressing ahead with fielding a replacement candidate in Canterbury, after Tim Walker stood down to avoid splitting the Remain vote.
“There are two fundamental issues – is the Labour party a Remain party, and also, you cannot disassociate yourself from the platform where you’re standing,” he said.
Umunna also stood by the party’s decision to launch disciplinary action against Walker, insisting he had gone public before notifying Lib Dem HQ.
Both candidates also attacked the Conservatives for failing to grapple with Islamophobia and facilitating the rise of nationalism by co-opting the Brexit Party.
Boris Johnson was personally criticised for “dog whistle politics”, with Umunna recalling the Prime Minister’s use of phrases including “picanninies” with watermelon smiles”.
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