Scottish minister Humza Yousaf: Corbyn ‘duplicitous’ and a ‘hypocrite’ on racism

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Scottish minister Humza Yousaf: Corbyn ‘duplicitous’ and a ‘hypocrite’ on racism

Scotland's Justice Secretary launches fierce attack on the Labour leader over claims he didn't act against a racist comment by a councillor

Humza Yousaf
Humza Yousaf

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is “duplicitous” and a “hypocrite” when it comes to tackling racism within his party, Scotland’s Justice Secretary has said.

Humza Yousaf launched a fierce attack on Mr Corbyn and Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard, saying they both “completely failed” to deal with a Labour councillor who made racist comments about him in March.

Councillor Jim Dempster apologised after he said of Mr Yousaf – who was then the transport minister – that “no-one would have seen him under his burka” to Transport Scotland officials.

Mr Yousaf hit out on Twitter, saying six months had now passed since Mr Dempster was suspended from the party after he “admitted Islamophobia”.

The Justice Secretary said: “He should have been expelled. What have Labour done in 6 months? Zero, zilch, nada.

“Let’s call Corbyn out – he is utterly duplicitous when it comes to tackling racism in his own Party.

“He says many warm words then fails miserably to follow it up with any action. He is a hypocrite and has been exposed as one time and time again.”

Mr Yousaf challenged Labour leaders north and south of the border to act, tweeting: “To @jeremycorbyn & @LabourRichard – it’s easy to turn up to anti-racism demos & take pics with minorities. Real test is fighting plague of racism & bigotry that exists within your own movement, on that measure you have both completely failed. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

“Ps: I’m usually a pretty calm guy, but yeah I’m pissed off. Demonstrates once again structural bias that exists in society. Switch my race with Dempster’s and imagine it was a White Govt Minister that had been racially abused by an Asian Cllr – he would’ve been expelled long ago.”

At the time Mr Dempster said he was “deeply sorry” for the comment, and told how he had requested further diversity training and had visited a local mosque – although Mr Yousaf dismissed this as a “tokenistic photo opp”.

Mr Dempster has now been referred to Labour’s National Constitutional Committee, after an internal party investigation into the matter.

It is understood Mr Yousaf and others were not contacted as part of this as Mr Dempster admitted the remark.

Mr Corbyn told BBC Scotland the case was “being dealt with”, stressing Labour “do not tolerate racism in any form in our society”.

He added: “The issues that face us all are the need to be united and not allow racism to fester any more than we would allow the far-right to rise anywhere across this country.”

A Scottish Labour spokesman stated: “The Labour Party takes any allegation of racism extremely seriously.

“All complaints about Islamophobia are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken.”

This comes amid claims that Labour has failed to adequately tackle a backlog of disciplinary cases regarding antisemitism, following a joint letter sent by the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, raising the issue. “Outstanding and future cases to be brought to a swift conclusion under a fixed timescale. An independent, mutually agreed ombudsman should be appointed to oversee performance, reporting to the Party and to the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council”, they wrote.

Earlier in September, Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson suggested that the party’s general secretary Jennie Formby, should quit if the antisemitism row that has engulfed the party over the summer is not over by Christmas.


Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: