Jeremy Corbyn says he is looking into "unacceptable" remarks allegedly made by shadow cabinet minister Dan Carden on a coach journey last year.
The claims were made by a Buzzfeed journalist who claims that Carden altered the lyrics of the Beatles’ song “Hey Jude “to “hey Jews”.
Carden, who served as Corbyn's shadow cabinet before Parliament dissolved, has denied the incident in which he was allegedly overheard by the reporter on a private bus full of Labour MPs on a journey from the Cheltenham races back to London.
The Labour leader said: "Dan Carden has emphatically denied that. It is an awful story and if it's true it is totally and utterly unacceptable."
Carden, the shadow international development secretary, was allegedly sitting next to former Labour whip Conor McGinn on the coach on the the two-and-a-half-hour ride to London on March 15, 2018.
The pair reportedly blared music from their phones throughout the journey.
The reporter claims that when the chorus reached the word “Jude”, Carden chanted at the top of his voice: “Jews, Jews, Jews”.
They also alleged that McGinn, who is standing for re-election as MP for St Helens North, repeatedly described a male Labour colleague who had slumped onto him while sleeping as a "p**f".
Buzzfeed said it had decided to publish the story now "following fresh antisemitism allegations" against Labour candidates and due to reports Mr Carden could be standing in a bid to replace deputy party leader Tom Watson.
Carden tweeted: “This was a coach full of journalists and MPs. If anyone genuinely believed any antisemitic behaviour had taken place, they would’ve had a moral responsibility to report it immediately.
“Yet this allegation is only made now when a general election is imminent. I stand by my record as an antiracist campaigner. I would never be part of any behaviour that undermines my commitment to fighting racism in all its forms.”
A spokesman for Carden told BuzzFeed he would never intentionally engage in racist or anti-semitic behaviour.
The report follows comments by Labour peer Lord Blanket describing his "despair at the "anti-Semitism and thuggery in the Labour Party.
Lord Blunkett, the former Home Secretary, said the party is “plagued by intolerance and division” which made the chances of a Corbyn majority “extraordinarily slim”.
In 2017, Carden was banned from a pub after landlady Anna Slater claimed that during a rowdy post-election party he and his group were "screaming, shouting, chanting and standing on the furniture".
Staff asked the group to behave but the family-run pub was forced to shut early, she said.
She wrote in a statement on Facebook: “After last night the recently elected MP for Walton is barred. For life. Several others in his group are also excluded and we are reviewing CCTV of last night to identify you.”
“Your behaviour was a disgrace and damaged a small, family run business. Again.”
He responded: “I appreciate that the events of last night caused distress to the great team at The Grapes but I am confident that neither me nor anyone in my party was responsible for this, so much so that I would like the opportunity to review footage with you to help identify any trouble-makers.”
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“I hope that you will take me up on this offer. I condemn wholeheartedly any behaviour that makes it difficult and unpleasant for people at work.”