Yvette Cooper has claimed that Jeremy Corbyn has ‘legitimised’ anti-Semitic and homophobic extremists by sharing a platform with them.
Ms Cooper, who is trailing Mr Corbyn in the race to be the next leader of the Labour Party, hit out at his alleged links to homophobic activists, with whom Mr Corbyn has shared the stage with at some events.
Mr Corbyn invited activist Dyab Abou Jahjah to a Parliamentary event in 2009 – despite him previously writing about “Aids-spreading fagots [sic]” being “everything Europe holds holy”.
The radical activist also lamented that Muslims were “persecuted” for being “disgusted” by homosexuality, describing it as a “sickness”.
Mr Corbyn has admitted meeting with Jahjah,saying: “My staff have researched this and it appears I did meet this man… I meet a lot people on all sides in the Middle East and it does not mean I agree with their views.”
Speaking during the 5 Live Labour leadership hustings, Yvette Cooper hit out at Mr Corbyn, in a fiery exchange between the two.
She said: “There are some people who have quite extreme views. Homophobic, pushing homophobic abuse and pushing extremist abuse who I don’t think you should give legitimacy to by inviting to public meetings.
“We have a different judgement on it… this is the Labour Party, we have always been very clear about our values and what it is we stand up for and therefore it’s important the leader of the Labour Party is projecting the right values and support as well.”
He hit back: “I have met people in the context of discussions about the Middle East with whom I profoundly disagree. I have met representatives of the Iranian government with whom I profoundly disagree with on the human rights issues.”
“My point is, if you’re to bring about a long-term peace process in the Middle East, you have to recognise that… you’ve got to talk to people you don’t like, don’t agree with, don’t particularly want to be in power, but you have to recognise they have a degree of support, and move on there. What’s the alternative, continuing the war?”
Ms Cooper added: “I think there is a responsibility on somebody to be leader of the Labour party, and a responsibility to be careful about what signals you send out about Labour’s values.
“We should scream it out in lights: we are against anybody who wants to pursue homophobic abuse or anti-Semitic abuse.”