ANTI-SEMITISM ROW: Derbyshire Tory leader brands Jeremy Corbyn's mural comments 'simply horrific'
Derbyshire County Council's Conservative leader has claimed the Labour Party is 'lost' - after Jeremy Corbyn became embroiled in an anti-Semitism row.
The Labour leader is currently being challenged by some of his own MPs over his response to a Facebook post by the street artist Mear One about a plan to remove a controversial mural.
In the 2012 Facebook post which contained a picture of the painting, Mr Corbyn asked Mear One why the mural was being destroyed and said the artist was 'in good company' because the Rockefeller family had covered over a work featuring Lenin in their New York development.
This week, Mr Corbyn himself described the painting as 'deeply disturbing and anti-Semitic' and expressed 'deep regret' at failing to look more closely at the picture of the mural before questioning its removal.
In a statement, he said he made a 'general comment about the removal of public art on grounds of freedom of speech' and added: "I sincerely regret that I did not look more closely at the image I was commenting on, the contents of which are deeply disturbing and anti-Semitic.
"I am opposed to the production of anti-Semitic material of any kind, and the defence of free speech cannot be used as a justification for the promotion of anti-Semitism in any form."
Councillor Barry Lewis, the Tory leader of the county council, described Mr Corbyn's Facebook comments as 'beyond the pale' and 'simply horrific'.
"The Labour Party is lost," he added.
Coun Lewis has been accused of using the issue of alleged anti-Semitism in the Labour Party as a way of 'trying to score cheap political points' - and distract from the fact the Conservative-led authority recently approved its biggest increase in council tax in 15 years and passed £12million in cuts over the next year.
An internal inquiry in 2016 found that Labour was not overrun by anti-Semitism or other forms of racism but that there was an occasionally 'toxic atmosphere' within the party.
The London mural depicted a group of people playing a Monopoly-style game on a board balanced on the backs of people.
The artist denied being anti-Semitic, insisting the mural was about 'class and privilege' and featured a group of bankers 'made up of Jewish and white Anglos'.