A senior ally of Jeremy Corbyn has apologised after a recording emerged of him claiming Jewish “Trump fanatics” are behind allegations of anti-Semitism in Labour.
Peter Willsman, a member of Labour’s national executive committee (NEC), has said he will have “equalities training”.
In a statement on Tuesday, Mr Willsman admitted there was a “problem” with anti-Semitism in the party that “needs stamping out” but it was not widespread.
Mr Willsman was heard telling a meeting of the party’s ruling body earlier this month he would be “amazed” if anyone present had seen examples of anti-Semitism within Labour.
The emergence of the audio recording, obtained by the Jewish Chronicle, had prompted demands for Labour leader Mr Corbyn to expel Mr Willsman from the party.
On Tuesday evening, Mr Willsman said he was “sorry” and “deeply regretted” his behaviour.
He added: “Having sat on the NEC for many years, I am of course aware of appalling instances of anti-Semitism within our party, and am wholly determined to rooting it out of our movement.
“I do not believe anti-Semitism is ‘widespread’ in the Labour Party, and that was what my comments were trying to refer to, but we do have a problem which needs stamping out.
“One anti-Semite is one too many.
“I recognise the offensive nature of my comments and that, in diminishing the experiences of those who face anti-Semitism in our party and society, I showed a lack of the sensitivity required for discussions around racism.”
Mr Willsman added that he would be “referring” himself to “receive equalities training” so he could “better understand how to approach discussions of such issues in a respectful way”.
A recording has also been obtained by Sky News where Mr Willsman tells Labour’s ruling body that Mr Corbyn sought his advice over Shami Chakrabarti’s report into allegations of anti-Semitism within Labour.
The recording, from 19 July 2016, was made at a time when Labour MPs had overwhelmingly backed a no-confidence motion in Mr Corbyn.
In the recording, Mr Willsman describes Mr Corbyn as his “mate of 40 years”.
He states: “The phone went and it was Jeremy.
“He was texting me. He said: ‘I’m sitting on the Somme waiting to make a speech, I’ve got a few minutes, could you please text me the recommendations in Shami’s report we need to be a bit careful about?’.
“By that point I’d read it and I texted him back, recommendations 10 and six which I’ll come to in a moment.
“And I thought ‘this is a chap who’s cracking up, he’s sending me texts from the Somme about Shami’s report’.
“So I had a very good laugh.”
Baroness Chakrabarti’s report was described as a “whitewash” by critics on its publication.
Weeks later, she was nominated for a peerage by Mr Corbyn.