Keir Starmer
Keir StarmerReuters

Three Jewish lawmakers who left the British Labour party over its anti-Semitism problem under Jeremy Corbyn have said they are rejoining the party because its new leader, Keir Starmer, has spoken out on the issue, JTA reported on Friday.

David Triesman, the ex-chairman of the Football Association, quit the party in July 2019, along with Leslie Turnberg, a former president of the Royal College of Physicians. Parry Mitchell left in 2016 saying that as “a Jew and a Zionist” he cannot stay under Corbyn.

“The Labour Party has in the past said it was dealing with antisemitism but did almost nothing,” Triesman told the Jewish Chronicle. “It was vital to see strong, practical action and with Keir we have seen just that. It’s the moment when being Jewish and Labour have been truly reconciled by active leadership.”

The three lawmakers serve in the House of Lords, the upper chamber of the British Parliament. They stayed on as independents after leaving Labour.

Starmer, who became party leader in April after Corbyn stepped down, apologized shortly after being elected for how the Labour Party has handled anti-Semitism within its ranks and committed to making change.

He later committed to setting up an independent complaints process for anti-Semitism in the party, saying it is “very important to me to seek to address the disgrace of anti-Semitism in our party as soon as possible.”

On Friday, Starmer touched on the issue during a talk with members of the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

“It will take time to rebuild trust between the Jewish community and the Labour Party,” Starmer said, according to JTA. But, he added, “We are beginning to wash clean the stain of anti-Semitism from our party.”

Corbyn had faced ongoing accusations of anti-Semitism, both over his history of hostility towards Israel and support for anti-Israel terrorist groups, as well as the rise in anti-Jewish rhetoric within the party.

Dozens of Labour members have been suspended over their anti-Semitic statements in recent years, while the party has been criticized for its failure to deal with the anti-Semitism within it.

In the British parliamentary election this past December, Labour recorded its worst performance, in terms of seats, since 1935.

British Labour MPs who lost their seats in the general election later cited Labour's "unwillingness" to stand up to anti-Semitism as one of the issues that led to the party’s loss in the election.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)