A Labour official was condemned yesterday for responding to the resignation of a Jewish MP by dismissing her claims about anti-Semitism and accusing her of whipping up ‘panic’.
Dame Louise Ellman, 73, quit the party on Wednesday night, saying that Jeremy Corbyn was ‘not fit’ to be prime minister.
The Liverpool Riverside MP, a party member for 55 years, said in a letter that she had been ‘deeply troubled’ by the ‘growth of anti-Semitism’ in Labour.
Labour MP Louise Ellman (pictured last year) announced she is leaving the party on Wednesday because she ‘can no longer advocate voting Labour when it risks Corbyn becoming PM’
She outlined her views for leaving in a letter posted on Twitter on Tuesday (pictured), in which she slammed the Labour party for ‘anti-Jewish racism’
‘The overwhelming majority of the Jewish community is fearful of what a Corbyn government might mean for Britain’s Jews,’ she wrote. ‘I share those concerns.’
Dame Louise, whose resignation was reported in later editions of yesterday’s Daily Mail, is the second female Jewish MP to quit the party over anti-Semitism this year after Luciana Berger left in February.
But while many Labour MPs expressed sadness at her departure, one member of the party’s ruling body launched an attack.
Lara McNeill, youth representative on the National Executive Committee, wrote on Twitter: ‘How can you think that the phrase “what a Corbyn government might mean for Britain’s Jews” is a proportionate response and doesn’t simply whip up panic amongst many?’
Responding to Miss McNeill’s criticism, Karen Pollock, of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: ‘Absolutely disgusting. Sadly demonstrative of the huge problem the party has.’
The tweet by youth representative on the National Executive Committee Lara McNeill who accused Dame Louise of whipping up ‘panic’ with the phrase ‘what a Corbyn government might mean for Britain’s Jews’
In her letter, she said Mr Corbyn had ‘presided over a culture of hatred, fear and intolerance in the Labour Party’
She outlined her views for leaving in a letter posted on Twitter on Tuesday, in which she slammed the Labour party for ‘anti-Jewish racism’ and said Mr Corbyn had ‘presided over a culture of hatred, fear and intolerance.’
Her comments, in which she also said Labour was ‘no longer a safe place for Jews’, plunges the party even further into an antisemitism crisis, following criticism of Mr Corybn and his handling of the scandal.
She added in her letter: ‘I believe that Jeremy Corbyn is not fit to serve as our Prime Mimster. With a looming general election and the possibility of him becoming Prime Minister, I feel I have to take a stand. I cannot advocate a government led by Jeremy Corbyn.
‘Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, antisemitism has become mainstream in the Labour Party. Jewish members have been bullied, abused and driven out.
‘Antisemites have felt comfortable and vile conspiracy theories have been propagated. A party that permits anti-Jewish racism to flourish cannot be called anti-racist.
‘This is not compatible with the Labour Party’s values of equality, tolerance and respect for minorities.
‘Shamefully, its anti-Jewish racism is now being investigated by one of the last labour government’s proudest creations, the Equality and Human Rights Commission.’
Twitter users responding to the tweet by Lara McNeill, youth representative on the National Executive Committee
And with 55 years under her belt in the Labour Party, Ms Ellman has seen a great deal of change within the party – including within its leadership and ranks.
But some of the change she has seen has not been for the better, she claimed.
‘My values – traditional Labour values – have remained the same,’ she said. ‘It is Labour, under Jeremy Corbyn, that has changed. He has presided over a culture of hatred, fear and intolerance in the Labour Party.
Louise Ellman speaks at the Jewish Labour Movement Rally at Middle Street Synagogue, Brighton during the Labour Party Conference in September
A Labour Party spokesperson said: ‘Jeremy Corbyn thanks Louise Ellman for her service to the Labour Party over many years.
‘Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party are fully committed to the support, defence and celebration of the Jewish community and continue to take robust action to root out anti-Semitism in the party and wider society.
‘Jeremy Corbyn has consistently supported struggles for human rights and justice around the world and made the right calls in the interests of security and peace.’
Mr Corbyn is pictured right at the PinkNews awards last week. A Labour Party spokesperson said: ‘Jeremy Corbyn thanks Louise Ellman for her service to the Labour Party over many years
In May, Labour faced one of the most shameful days in its history after a formal inquiry was launched into whether it has victimised Jews.
In a potentially explosive intervention, the equalities watchdog said it ‘suspects’ the party has committed ‘unlawful acts’ in its handling of the anti-Semitism crisis.
Only once before has the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a formal inquiry into a political party – and that was the far-Right BNP.
The EHRC will investigate whether Mr Corbyn’s party has ‘unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised people because they are Jewish’ – and whether senior staff responded properly to anti-Semitism allegations against its members.
If Labour fails to accept its findings, it could be taken to court and be fined.
Labour rejected claims it was institutionally racist.