Jeremy Corbyn joined hundreds of activists today to mark the 80th anniversary of a landmark anti-fascism street fight.
The Labour leader told union members, Jewish and Muslim groups his own mother was among the thousands who clashed with police in the Battle of Cable Street.
Tens of thousands stopped Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists marching through London’s East End, which had a large Jewish population, on 4 October 1936.
They erected barricades to halt the march and it was eventually abandoned despite the efforts of police.
In a speech Mr Corbyn said the event had a deep personal significance due to his mother’s fight.
He was due to add: “The principles that brought those people on to the streets runs through my DNA. Be in no doubt – I will never turn my back on those values. I will fight against those who today aim to drive a wedge between us and between our communities.
“Our Labour Party will fight those who wish to scapegoat and blame migrants for the economic failures of this government.”
Before they set off Rushanara Ali, the local Labour MP, praised those who “stood up against intolerance and fascism here in east London, so that we could live safely, and in safety and harmony.”
The event came as Mr Corbyn faced criticism by prominent left-wingers after attending an earlier anti-racism rally promoted by the Socialist Workers’ Party.
The Labour leader spoke to hundreds alongside new Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott at the Stand Up To Racism event yesterday.
He told activists: “I consider it an honour to be amongst people I’ve known for many years who’ve stood the test of time in standing up for a decent society.”
Organisers insisted the event consisted of a broad coalition of groups despite it being promoted on the SWP’s website. Unison and NUT banners could be seen at the event.
However, left-wing columnist Owen Jones tweeted: “A left politician, however venerated, who speaks at SWP events will swiftly fray the patience of some of their most committed supporters.”
Novara Media founder Aaron Bastani added: “Utterly appalled at this. Jeremy has to understand his leadership is bigger than his (here dreadful) instincts. He isn’t a backbencher now.”