The MP for Lewisham West and Penge is the latest to face the threat of deselection for opposing Jeremy Corbyn’s actions and as such many are questioning his leadership methods and his response to criticism. Political commentator Keith Rowe has weighed on Corbyn’s failure to address the claims of anti-Semitism within his own party and if he was fit to be the leader of the Labour party.
Sputnik: Many people have been critical, even people who are on the disciplinary board, what process would satisfy you to deal with the claims made against Corbyn?
Keith Rowe: The whole of the Labour Party needs to be thoroughly investigated in connection with the anti-Semitism that I believe is rampant throughout much of the party. There needs to be a thorough investigation from the top down. And my belief is that much of the lower level anti-Semitism in the Labour Party is able to come to the fore at the moment because the leadership has deliberately not stopped it. And he's allowing it to happen.
Sputnik: Why has Jeremy Corbyn failed to tackle these anti-Semitic accusations against him and his party?
Keith Rowe: You'll have to ask him that really, the inference that arises from the fact that he hasn't done anything to stop it is that he's in favour of it. That's got to be the clear message that's coming from Jeremy Corbyn and his colleagues. And I believe that to be the case. There are so many examples of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party at the moment, a party that used to pride itself on the fact that it was open to all and was not racist in any way. And now, we've of course seen many examples or a number of examples of things, such as the mural that Jeremy Corbyn retweeted, that are anti-Semitic in themselves. And the fact that he is friends with Hamas, he laid a wreath at the grave of known terrorists, etc, etc. All of these things just lead anybody who looks at it, however impartially, to believe that he is actually encouraging activity such as that.
Sputnik: In regards to Ellie Reeves, she's a Labour MP who signed a petition against the reinstallation of Chris Williams, and she's been threatened with deselection. Now Corbyn and the Shadow Cabinet have used deselection as a threat to MPs who have opposed him. However, during Tony Blair's time as Prime Minister and leader of the Labour Party, he never deselected Corbyn despite Corbyn's frequent rebellions and protests against them. What does this say about Corbyn's leadership style and does it make him unfit to be the leader of the party?
Keith Rowe: What this says about Corbyn's leadership style is that he wants an iron grip over who is involved with the Labour Party in any real way. He doesn't want it to be a broad Church of opinion in the way that Tony Blair's, as you just described, allowed it to be - he allowed people who were far over to the left, far more over to the left than he was, to be in the party and to voice their opinions and to put their arguments forward. But I don't think Corbyn is in the same mould.
Corbyn really wants an iron grip over everybody who is saying anything on behalf of the party and anybody who's putting policy forward. So he's very happy to see people who disagree with him, being deselected and removed from office and replaced by people who hold similar views to him.
The views and opinions expressed by Keith Rowe are those of the expert and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.