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Source: Labour List UK

Lisa Nandy went on the attack during the latest televised Labour leadership debate hosted by Sky News tonight with a pointed remark directed towards frontrunner Keir Starmer on antisemitism.

One audience member asked: “The overwhelming majority of Labour Party members are not antisemitic. What will you do to dispel the misconception among voters that antisemitism is rife in the party?”

Lisa Nandy was the first candidate to respond. She vowed to “deal with it”, before pointing out that she “broke collective responsibility” and “spoke up on every occasion in the three years after that”.

The Wigan MP then turned to frontrunner Keir Starmer, saying: “I will just say this to Keir, is that I believe that you are sincere about this, but if we do not acknowledge how badly the shadow cabinet as a whole got this wrong, we will not earn the trust of the Jewish community”.

Starmer replied: “Well, Lisa, you were in the shadow cabinet when this issue came up as well.” This prompted Nandy to say: “I spoke out, I spoke out, I spoke out publicly – and then I left and I didn’t return.”

Nandy then raised the issue of the Equality and Human Rights Commission submission by the Labour Party, which is being investigated by the equalities body over its handling of antisemitism.

She said: “The shadow cabinet was offered sight of the submission to the EHRC… and apparently not a single person took up the offer of seeing the party’s position on that.”

Starmer interjected: “That’s nonsense. Absolute nonsense. Hear me out about what actually happened… Shadow cabinet should be confidential, and I don’t break confidences. It was Tom Watson and I that were asking for that submission and were offered it.

“So this was complete nonsense. That’s what we were trying to do. I argued we should change the definition to the international definition. I argued for months in the shadow cabinet, and in the end we did it.”

The Holborn and St Pancras MP was then asked by Sophy Ridge whether rival candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey had spoken out on antisemitism in the shadow cabinet.

He said: “Given where we’ve got to, I think the last thing our members, our movement and our country want, is us all trying to take lumps out of each other about who did what.”

Pushed on the question, Starmer added: “Look, Rebecca didn’t speak out in the same way as I did in my view, but I really don’t think – and I don’t think it’s fair or it’s right for us to try to score points now off each other in relation to this.”

Long-Bailey was offered a right of reply, and she said: “Keir knows that I spoke at shadow cabinet a number of times about this. I was often the shadow cabinet member that did the media to try and explain what was happening.”

The Shadow Business Secretary reiterated that she “expressed my concern many, many times about how we weren’t tackling this in the way that I thought we should”.

At the end of the debate hosted by Sky News, the audience were asked to raise their hands to indicate which candidate they thought had ‘won’. They overwhelmingly voted in favour of Nandy.

Audience members were 100 voters made up of one third Labour members, one third current Labour supporters and one third former Labour voters.

MIL OSI United Kingdom