Labour leader says Panorama adopted ‘predetermined’ critical position
Jeremy Corbyn has said there were “many, many, inaccuracies” in the BBC Panorama documentary about antisemitism in the party, saying that the programme adopted a “predetermined position” before it was aired, The Guardian reports.
The Labour leader made the comments during a visit to the Durham Miners’ Gala. He said: “I watched the programme and I felt there were many, many inaccuracies in the programme. The programme adopted a predetermined position on its own website before it was broadcast. We’ve made very clear what our processes are.
“Our party members do have the right to be heard if they’re accused of anything and our party staff have a right to be supported and they are supported.”
When asked whether he will publish Labour’s response to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission inquiry into allegations of antisemitism within the party, Corbyn said the investigation had not happened yet. However, he said he will fully cooperate with the commission.
“Antisemitism is a poison, it is vile, it is wrong,” he said. “It is a poison in our society and any other society … It is not acceptable in any form.”
Corbyn noted that anyone in the party who commits any act of antisemitism faces withdrawal of membership or expulsion, and “that we have done”. He said: “We investigate every case that comes up … It’s less than 0.1% of our membership that have ever been involved in any accusation, never mind any resolution of the issue.”
The Labour leader added: “We are processing them in a timely manner and I believe that anyone looking at our process will say actually this is a robust process and maybe we’ll invite other political parties to adopt the same diligence that we have adopted.”
Corbyn also joined Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt in defence of the press over the publication of diplomatic dispatches sent by the former British ambassador to the US Kim Darroch.
The Metropolitan police has launched a criminal investigation into the leak of the messages, which were sent to the Mail on Sunday. The UK’s largest police force threatened the media with prosecution for publishing the dispatches.
Corbyn said that it was normal for the police to be involved. “Certainly, if that had been the other way around and emails had been leaked between the US embassy in London and Washington, I’m very sure the USA would have a great deal to say about it.
“Freedom of the press is vital, of course. There are rules around that and there are considerable protections for journalists who do reveal things and that, of course, is the right thing to do.”
A BBC statement on Saturday said: “The BBC stands by its journalism and we completely reject any accusations of bias or dishonesty. The investigation was not pre-determined, it was driven by the evidence. The outcome shows the serious questions facing the Labour party and its leadership on this issue. The programme adhered to the BBC’s editorial guidelines, including contacting the Labour party in advance of the broadcast for a full right of reply.”