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Labour MP Louise Ellman quits party with parting shot at Jeremy Corbyn

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A Labour MP has launched a withering attack on the party’s leadership and quit after 55 years as a member.

Dame Louise Ellman announced her resignation from the party, citing Jeremy Corbyn as the reason why.

In an astonishing attack on the party’s leadership, she accused the MP for Islington of “consorting” with Holocaust deniers and terrorists.

She also blamed Mr Corbyn for a culture of “hatred, fear and intolerance” within Labour.

Dame Louise is the Chair of the All-Party Britain-Israel Parliamentary Group and the Labour Friends of Israel, while serving as Honorary President of the Jewish Labour Movement.

Her resignation comes a week after activists in a branch of Dame Ellman’s Liverpool Riverside constituency moved a motion calling for her to resign. 

Liverpool Riverside MP Louise Ellman

In her resignation tweet she said: “I have made the truly agonising decision to leave the Labour Party after 55 years.

“I can no longer advocate voting Labour when it risks Corbyn becoming PM. 

“I will continue to serve the people of Liverpool Riverside as I have had the honour to do since 1997.”

Dame Louise said she would not join another party and that she hoped to return to Labour if the leadership changed.

“I believe that Jeremy Corbyn is not fit to serve as our Prime Minister,” she said in a letter published this evening.

“With a looming General Election and the possibility of him becoming Prime Minister, I feel I have to take a stand.”

Jeremy Corbyn at the Pink News Awards this evening

 

The veteran member of the house pointed at the issues the party has had with antisemitism as a reason why she could not remain a member.

“Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, antisemitism has become mainstream in the Labour Party,” she continued.

“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.”

Dame Louise said antisemitism had become mainstream under Mr Corbyn’s tenure

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Dame Louise went on to claim that Jeremy Corbyn had spent three decades on the back benches of the House of Commons “consorting with, and never confronting, antisemitism, Holocaust deniers and terrorist”.

The 73-year-old was born in Manchester into an observant Jewish family.

Mike Katz, chairman of the Jewish Labour Movement, claimed Dame Louise had been “bullied and hounded out of her party”.

He added that it was heartbreaking the MP had been ‘driven out’ of her party after 55 years of membership – and more than 20 years as the MP for Liverpool Riverside.

Mr Katz said she was pushed out by ‘a leader and leadership unwilling and unable to get a grip on the institutional anti-Jewish racism infecting the party’.

He said: “We salute Louise’s bravery in standing up to the racists and bullies in her local party and beyond, and for her service to the Jewish community.

“She’s the second female Jewish MP to be hounded out of the Labour Party. What clearer signal can there be that, as Dame Louise says, Labour is currently not a safe space for Jews.

“This is a day of great shame for the Labour Party.”

Former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said that the Labour Party was ‘finished as a serious force’ if there was no place for Dame Louise in its ranks.

Chancellor Sajid Javid tweeted: “Another Jewish MP @LouiseEllman driven out of @UKLabour by racism. In 2019, in a supposedly ‘mainstream’ political party. A very sad day for British politics.”

As a teenager, Dame Louise was involved in the Labour Zionist Habonim Dror – a socialist Zionist movement – before spending a year in Israel studying Hebrew, the Jewish Chronicle reported.

The motion moved by her constituency members last week read: “We have no confidence that our MP Louise Ellman will carry out the wishes of our CLP (Constituency Labour Party) and our Riverside constituency or that she will follow Labour Party policy.

“This branch therefore call on our Riverside MP, Louise Ellman, to resign.”

A Labour Party spokesman 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.”



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