Derbyshire Tory councillor claims Labour 'failing to tackle anti-Semitism' - sparking anger

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A Derbyshire Conservative councillor faced a barrage of criticism after he accused Labour of 'failing to deal with anti-Semitism'.

Councillor Alex Dale, cabinet member for young people at Tory-led Derbyshire County Council (DCC), made the comment on Wednesday during a meeting about how the authority intends to formally adopt a world-recognised definition of anti-Semitism.

Coun Anne Western, leader of the Labour group on DCC, said he was 'trying to score cheap political points with an ill-informed attack'.

Following the meeting, Coun Western lodged a formal complaint with DCC about the conduct of four Conservative councillors.

Coun Dale referred to Labour politicians who had been accused of making anti-Semitic remarks.

He said: "Under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is failing to deal with anti-Semitism.

"What sort of example is Mr Corbyn setting when he's so unwilling to stamp out anti-Semitism in his own party?"

Coun Western responded: "This is disgraceful.

"You're trying to score cheap political points with an ill-informed attack on Labour.

"This is a sad day for this council."

Coun Western said the Labour group supported DCC's plans to formally adopt a world-recognised definition of anti-Semitism.

"But we don't support his comments," she added.

Other Labour councillors shouted 'shocking', 'pathetic' and 'disgusting' and urged Coun Dale to apologise.

After the meeting, Coun Western said: "This has caused a lot of upset among Labour councillors."

Coun Lewis said: "The truth hurts.

"Congratulations to Coun Dale for stimulating much-needed debate on this."

Controversial budget formally approved

Earlier, Conservative councillors rubber-stamped a 4.99 per cent council tax rise and £12million of cuts for 2018-19.

Labour councillors opposed the budget.

Coun Lewis said the council tax increase - DCC's biggest in 15 years - would help fund vital services in Derbyshire.

He added: "We've got a good budget, a sensible one.

"All Labour does is salami slice services."

Coun Lewis said Labour planned to close three waste recycling centres in Derbyshire before the party lost control of DCC last year.

But Coun Western accused Coun Lewis of spreading 'fake news' and branded him 'Derbyshire's Donald Trump'.

She also urged him to tell the Conservative Government that 'austerity isn't working'.

And Coun Kevin Gillott, who represents Clay Cross South on DCC, told Coun Lewis: "People are struggling and you're making it worse - you're imposing the biggest council tax rise in 15 years.

"People won't forget this."