FORMER Labour general secretary Lord Triesman has quit the party saying it is “institutionally anti-Semitic”.

In his letter of resignation, he said the party leadership had used any excuse “to allow their allies to attack Jews or engage with anti-Semites”.

“My sad conclusion is that the Labour Party is plainly institutionally anti-Semitic, and its leader and his circle are anti-Semitic having never once made the right judgment call about an issue reflecting deep prejudice,” he wrote in the letter posted on Twitter.

Former health minister Lord Darzi of Denham has also resigned the Labour whip.

The peer told BBC Two’s Newsnight: “I confirm I am leaving the Labour Whip to sit as an independent.

“As an Armenian survivor of the Armenian genocide I have zero tolerance to anti-Semitism, Islamophobia or any other discrimination against religion or race.”

Lord Turnberg, a former president of the Royal College of Physicians, has also resigned the Labour whip saying the party’s leadership has “taken the party I joined in completely the wrong direction”.

Lord Triesman is a University of Essex graduate.

While he was at the Wivenhoe campus in 1968, he and a group of fellow students seized control declaring it a “free university”.

He was subsequently suspended after interrupting a meeting addressed by a defence industry scientist but later readmitted. All was forgiven when he received an honorary degree from the university in 2010.

A Labour Party spokesman said: “We completely reject these false and offensive claims. The Labour Party at all levels is implacably opposed to anti-Semitism and is determined to root out this social cancer from our movement and society.

“Labour is taking decisive action against anti-Semitism, doubling the number of staff dedicated to dealing with complaints and cases.

“Since Jennie Formby became general secretary, the rate at which anti-Semitism cases have been dealt with has increased four-fold.

“Our records show that anti-Semitism cases that have gone through the stages of our disciplinary procedures since September 2015 account for about 0.06 per cent of the party’s membership.

“This represents a tiny minority but one anti-Semite is one too many.”