London, Feb 28 (IANS) The three Labour leadership candidates turned on each other when discussing who held responsibility for the UK’s main opposition partys anti-Semitism crisis during a heated debate.
In the debate on Thursday night, Indian-origin Wigan MP Lisa Nandy questioned her rivals’ responses to allegations of anti-Jewish prejudice in the party, reports the Metro newspaper.
Labour’s Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer insisted that he fought the issue from the inside Jeremy Corbyn’s team, while the third contender, Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Baile also claimed she had spoken out.
But Nandy said she “knows what racism feels like as someone who is half-Indian and I know it cannot be your battle alone to fight it”.
She added that there had been a “collective failure of leadership at the top of the party for years” where high-profile cases of anti-Semitism had not been addressed.
The three candidates also spoke of winning back voters’ trust after Labour’s disastrous performance in last December’s general elections.
Long-Bailey said she would make sure people’s aspirations were “truly realised” at the next general election, admitting that voters were still “angry”, the Metro newspaper reported.
She said she would not drop anything from Labour’s 2019 manifesto.
But Nandy claimed it wasn’t “good enough to say we broadly got it right – on Brexit, on leadership, on policy – without any understanding of how we had our worst election defeat since 1935 – that we can just change the face at the top and hope to fix this”.
Starmer however, acknowledged that Labour had lost four elections in a row and the party would not change lives for the better in opposition.
Starmer has been predicted to win the Labour leadership contest in the first round with more than 50 per cent of the vote, ahead of Long-Bailey on 31 per cent and Nandy on 16 per cent.
Members and party supporters have already started voting, with ballot papers being sent out by email and post.
The results will be announced on April 4.