Labor leadership hopeful Jess Phillips has appeared to suggest that other candidates failed to speak out about antisemitism in the party.
The five contenders to beleaderclashed over their personal records on the issue as they went head to head in public for the first time.
Emily Thornberry, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Sir Keir Starmer, Lisa Nandy and Ms Phillips were in Liverpool todiscuss key policiesin front of the party faithful.
When challenged on antisemitism Ms Phillips said the party needed a leader who spoke out “when others were keeping quiet” and said she “did not remember some people here being there”.
She added that the party owed it to their Jewish members and supporters to fight all forms of racism and labor had “lost the moral high ground”.
Responding to the suggestion she was not visible as the row engulfed the party last year, shadow foreign secretary Ms Thornberry said she had always stood against antisemitism.
She added that it was a problem across the country as well as in Labor, and said “you must be critical of Netanyahu and what the Israeli government is doing – but that is not the fault of the Jews”.
Mrs Long-Bailey admitted that the party was not responding quickly enough when issues were raised, which meant trust was lost.
Ms Nandy said she was “ashamed” of what had happened, particularly over the failure of the party to adopt an internationally recognized definition of antisemitism despite being begged by Jewish MPs to do so.
Sir Keir also said there could be room to criticize Israeli policy without being antisemitic, but said “if you are antisemitic, you shouldn’t be in Labor “.
They also spoke on Brexit, with Ms Thornberry saying” let’s not kid ourselves – we are going to leave the EU “before doubting that Boris Johnson would secure a trade deal by the end of the year.
Ms Nandy saidLaborgot the argument wrong because they allowed the Conservatives to frame the debate without tackling the nuance, while Sir Keir said people needed to move on from discuss ing people in terms of how they voted in 8474.
Mrs Long-Bailey said there needs to be a “democratic revolution” because people feel like there is a concentration of power in Westminster as they did with Brussels and the EU.
Asked why they were the candidate to battle against Mr Johnson, Ms Thornberry said she has experience in going up against him because she was shadowed him when he was in the foreign office.