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Corbyn to investigate claims shadow minister sang ‘Hey Jews’ over ‘Hey Jude’ lyrics

Jeremy Corbyn has vowed to investigate claims a member of his top team sang “Hey Jews” to the tune of “Hey Jude” on a coach trip nearly two years ago.

Dan Carden, the shadow international development secretary, categorically denied allegations he sang antisemitic lyrics to the Beatles song on journey back to London from the Cheltenham races in March 2018.

He was a shadow minister at the time of the alleged incident, which was reported by a Buzzfeed journalist who was on the same bus.

The allegations will come as a blow to Labour as it seeks to shift focus towards its domestic agenda – and away from damaging rows over antisemitism that have dogged the party.

Mr Carden, who is an ally of the Labour leader, said: “I have been categorical in my denial about allegations relating to a coach trip some twenty months ago. 

“This was a coach full of journalists and MPs. If anyone genuinely believed any anti-semitic behaviour had taken place, they would’ve had a moral responsibility to report it immediately.”

He questioned why Buzzfeed had only been published the piece “when a general election is imminent”, rather than in March 2018 when the incident occurred.

The frontbencher added: “I stand by my record as an anti racist campaigner.

“I would never be part of any behaviour that undermines my commitment to fighting racism in all its forms.”

Labour whip Mark Tami defended his colleague, saying: “I was on the bus and didn’t hear any singing of this nature.”

On the campaign trail in Leeds, Mr Corbyn condemned the allegations as “totally unacceptable” and pledged to investigate.

Asked about the story, he said: “Dan Carden has emphatically denied that.

“It is an awful story and if it’s true it is utterly and totally unacceptable. I am looking into it.”

The new row follows a dramatic intervention from former Labour home secretary David Blunkett, who said the “antisemitism” and “thuggery” in the party had driven him to “despair”.

The Labour peer, who was an MP for 28 years, said the chances of Mr Corbyn winning a majority were “extraordinarily slim”.

It also comes after former Labour MP Ian Austin urged voters to back Boris Johnson rather than Labour in next month’s election, as he claimed Mr Corbyn was not fit to be prime minister.

Meanwhile, two Labour candidates have been forced to stand down over allegations of antisemitism in recent days.

Haringey councillor Gideon Bull pulled out of the race in Clacton, Essex, after it emerged he used the term “Shylock” at a council meeting.

Kate Ramsden stood down in the Scottish constituency of Gordon after it emerged she had likened Israel to a child abuser.

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