Oh dear. The Labour party is once again divided thanks to the unfolding row over allegations of anti-Semitism. Although Jeremy Corbyn has insisted there is no place in the party for anti-Semitic views, the Labour leader has antagonised many of his MPs further with his decision to attend a Jewdas – ‘radical Jewish diaspora group’ – event on Sunday evening.
Now it seems even his own front-bench are having doubts about their leader. In an interview with Julia Hartley-Brewer on Talk Radio, Stephen Pound – the shadow minister for Northern Ireland – said he doesn’t endorse Corbyn’s leadership on a ‘personal basis’:
JHB: By serving on his [Corbyn’s] frontbench you are endorsing his leadership.
SP: Of course I’m not endorsing his leadership… he is the elected leader of the Labour Party and as such is owed a duty of loyalty from people within the party.
When someone’s elected it doesn’t matter whether you voted for them or not you have to respect that. I may not endorse the leadership of Theresa May but she’s my Prime Minister.
JHB: Just to be clear, as a member of the shadow front-bench team, you’re saying, you just said to me ‘of course I’m not endorsing his leadership’?
SP: Not on a personal basis, no.
When a shadow minister is comparing their support for Corbyn to their support for a Conservative prime minister, there is a problem.