Labour MSPs call for adoption of global anti-semitism definition

Senior Scottish Labour politicians have urged the wider party to adopt the international definition of anti-semitism in full.

MSP Monica Lennon has backed the move. Picture: Michael Gillen
MSP Monica Lennon has backed the move. Picture: Michael Gillen

MSPs Monica Lennon, Jackie Baillie, Anas Sarwar, Daniel Johnson and Colin Smyth have all expressed their support for the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) definition to be accepted in its entirety, including a list of examples.

The UK party and leader Jeremy Corbyn have been embroiled in a row over anti-semitism, with three leading Jewish newspapers describing the failure to embrace the IHRA definition in full as “sinister”.

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Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard has been urged to speak out on the issue.

In a social media post, Ms Lennon, Scottish Labour’s communities, social security and equalities spokeswoman, said she had a “lengthy and constructive” meeting with representatives of the Jewish community.

Ms Baillie, the party’s economy spokeswoman, tweeted that adopting the IHRA definition is “the right thing to do”, while health spokesman Mr Sarwar said the party “must adopt the IHRA definition of anti-semitism now”.

Scottish Conservative MP for East Renfrewshire Paul Masterton said: “Even Richard Leonard’s colleagues are now telling him that he needs to change the way he’s handled this anti-semitism scandal.”

Meanwhile, Westminster leader Mr Corbyn has been accused of “supporting and defending” extremists and anti-Semites by one of his own MPs.

Ian Austin is facing possible disciplinary action for clashing with the party chairman over the National Executive Committee’s failure to fully adopt a widely-backed definition of anti-semitism.

Dudley North MP Mr Austin – the son of adoptive Jewish parents who lost relatives in the Holocaust – said the long-running row that has seen Labour ­castigated by a string of Jewish groups had left him “deeply ashamed” of the party.

He accused Mr Corbyn of introducing to Labour a more “extreme” brand of politics, tellinga BBC radio programme: “Somebody with views and history like his isn’t really suited to the leadership of a mainstream political party.”