Labour's Jeremy Corbyn refuses four opportunities to apologise to Jews after anti-Semitism claims

Britain's Labour leader refused four times to apologise to the Jewish community for his party's handling of anti-Semitism claims.

With the British election scheduled for mid-December, leader Jeremy Corbyn has participated in several interviews and debates.

But in an interview on Wednesday (NZ Time) with the BBC's Andrew Neil, he declined four opportunities to apologise to British Jews for how his party has dealt with anti-Semitism claims.

"Wouldn't you like to take this opportunity tonight to apologise to the British Jewish community for what has happened?" Neil asked.

But Corbyn didn't oblige.

"What I will say is this: I am determined that our society will be safe for people of all faiths. I don't want anyone to be feeling insecure in our society. Our Government will protect every community," Corbyn replied before Neil interrupted.

"So, no apology...So, no apology for how you have handled this... I will try one more time. No apology?"

Corbyn attempted to say how racism wasn't acceptable in society, but Neil repeatedly stopped him, saying the audience had heard those lines before.

The interview came after the nation's chief rabbi Ephraim Mirvis attacked the party on Monday (UK Time). In an article in The Times, Mirvis said a "poison" had infested Labour that was "sanctioned from the top". He called on the public to vote with their conscious and said Jews were fearful of the party forming the next Government.

"The way in which the leadership of the Labour Party has dealt with anti-Jewish racism is incompatible with the British values of which we are so proud - of dignity and respect for all people," Mirvis wrote.

"It has left many decent Labour members and parliamentarians, both Jewish and non-Jewish, ashamed of what has transpired."

His comments have been endorsed by other religious leaders, like the chair of the Jewish Labour Movement. The Archbishop of Canterbury has also said the rabbi's comments should "alert us to the deep sense of insecurity and fear felt by many British Jews".

Labour members have faced a raft of anti-Semitism allegations over the last few years, with several high-profile figures being forced to resign due to comments they made or supported

An inquiry by the country's Human Rights Commission into Labour's attitude towards Jews is underway, but previous investigations have suggested anti-Semitism isn't more prevalent in the party than any other political group.

Corbyn has repeatedly said the party has taken action to stamp racism out, but he has been accused of not acting fast enough.

Mirvis said claims from Corbyn that Labour had investigated anti-Semitism allegations was "mendacious fiction".

The Labour leader told Neil the rabbi wasn't right and had no evidence to back up his claim. 

Corbyn is facing an uphill battle to win the election. In recent polls, the Labour Party is trailing Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservatives by around 10 percent. The leader is also facing backlash for saying he would stay neutral on Brexit.

Johnson, however, has not been immune to criticism. He's come under fire for making several questionable claims in interviews and being cavalier about floods that struck north England earlier this month.

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