A question from Lincoln MP Karl McCartney sparked a confrontation between Prime Minister David Cameron and Leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn over antisemitism and the Labour leader’s “friendship” with Islamist organisations.
During Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, May 4, McCartney asked the Prime Minister to condemn “the actions and propaganda” of anti-Zionist groups Hezbollah and Hamas.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has previously described both parties, who are based in Lebanon and Palestine respectively, as “friends”.
He has also been under fire this week over claims by some sections of the media and even his own party that he reacted slowly in suspending former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone and Bradford West MP Naz Shah over alleged antisemitism.
In his question to the PM, McCartney referenced the city’s previous MP, Labour’s Gillian Merron, who he defeated in 2010 and who now works as chief executive for the Board of Deputies of British Jews.
Karl McCartney said: “We in Lincoln are all aware of the need for tolerance and the stamping out of racism and antisemitism.
“Will my right hon. friend join me and all our colleagues on this side of the house in condemning the actions and propaganda of Hezbollah and Hamas?”
This question triggered a row between the Conservative and Labour leaders, with Cameron calling Hamas “a terrorist group who believe in killing Jews”, and demanding Corbyn withdraw his “friends” comment.
Corbyn defended his remarks, stating that his comments were not an approval of the organisations and that they were made during discussions “in order to promote a peace process”.
He also turned his line of attack on the Conservative Party candidate for Mayor of London, questioning his conduct in the lead up to tomorrow’s elections.
You can watch the full exchange in the video above.