Journalist’s quote on day of comments more accurate. Labour right has echoed claim that Corbyn accused EHRC of exaggeration
The Guardian has corrected – or at least improved – an article today by the paper’s deputy political editor, which accused Jeremy Corbyn of saying that the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) had exaggerated antisemitism. Jessica Elgot made the claim in a piece showcasing comments by right-wing Labour MP Margaret Hodge:
In fact, Corbyn made no such comment about the report, instead accusing political opponents and the media of overstating the scale of antisemitism in the Labour party. Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner admitted on television that this was true, yet still claimed Corbyn should not have said it:
But the EHRC report itself was careful to underline that comments about the scale of antisemitism in the Labour party were legally-protected free speech under human rights legislation – and even that elected representatives have an ‘enhanced’ right, so Corbyn was perfectly entitled to comment as he did. Keir Starmer’s decision to withdraw the whip, by contrast, was therefore a breach of the EHRC report that he promised to implement in full – based both on the EHRC’s protection of free speech and its ban on political interference in disciplinary processes and outcomes.
The Labour right has, naturally, freely misquoted Corbyn to accuse him of claiming the report exaggerates the scale of antisemitism. However, the original narrative was different – and Ms Elgot more accurately noted what Corbyn did say, in an article she wrote with colleague Peter Walker on 29 October, the day of his comments:
The SKWAWKBOX wrote to Ms Elgot to ask why she had misquoted Corbyn in her new article. She responded:
[I] agree it’s clumsily worded even if Mr Corbyn did say, in the same context, that he did not accept all of the report’s findings. I’ll ask the subs if we can change now and put in a correction note. Obviously it’s a delicate point and we should try to be exact.
Corbyn said that he did not accept all of the report’s findings, but did not specify which findings and said that he wanted Labour to implement the report’s recommendations.
The paper has now included a full quote of Corbyn’s comment and has added a footnote ‘clarifying’ its initial false claim:
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