Shadow minister urges Labour's Jewish affiliate to stay in the party because 'Corbyn won't be leader forever'

Shami Chakrabarti says Jeremy Corbyn 'won't be leader forever' as Jewish Labour Movement prepares to hold no confidence vote in party

Benjamin Kentish
Political Correspondent
Sunday 07 April 2019 11:25
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'He is one person and he won't be leader forever' Shami Chakrabarti asks Jewish Labour Movement to 'tackle racism together'

A shadow minister has urged Labour's only Jewish affiliate not to leave the party, saying Jeremy Corbyn "won't be leader forever".

Shami Chakrabarti, the shadow attorney general, urged the Jewish Labour Movement to stay in the party as it prepares to debate its future in Labour.

The group will hold a vote of no confidence in the Labour Party at its annual general meeting on Sunday after months of controversy over the party's handling of antisemitism.

The meeting will also vote on a motion accusing the Labour leadership of being antisemitic and having "used their influence to protect and defend antisemites".

Last month JLM held an emergency meeting to discuss whether it should remain affiliated to Labour. Members decided to "stay and fight" but suggested the issue would be revisted at the AGM.

But Ms Chakrabarti, who conducted an investigation into antisemitism in the party before being appointed as a Labour peer, urged the group to retain its link to the affiliation, saying it should not leave because of Mr Corbyn.

She told Sky News' Ridge on Sunday: "My plea to them is not to personalise it. My plea to the Jewish Labour Movement is to stay in the Labour movement and to tackle racism together, not to personalise it and make it about Jeremy Corbyn because he is one person and he won't be leader forever.

"We have to make this non-factional, non-personal and work together, and that's my plea to colleagues and comrades in the Jewish Labour Movement, who are such an important part of Labour's history and Labour's story."

As well as holding a vote of no confidence in Labour, the JLM meeting will also debate a no confidence motion relating specifically to Mr Corbyn.

The text to be discussed says: "The leadership of the Labour Party have demonstrated that they are antisemitic, and have presided over a culture of antisemitism in which they have failed to use their personal and positional power to tackle antisemitism, and have instead used their influence to protect and defend antisemites.

"Jeremy Corbyn is directly responsible, whether through his own actions, where he appears to have condoned antisemitism and antisemites, or through his inaction to tackle the wider problem within the party."

It says the group has "no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn's ability to understand, respond to or solve the problem".

It comes amid reports that hundreds of complaints about antisemitism in Labour have not resulted in disciplinary action being taken.

Members who had made comments including "Heil Hitler" and "Jews are the problem" were not expelled from the party, according to leaked emails obtained by the Sunday Times.

The emails are also said to show Mr Corbyn's office intervening in more than a hundred cases.

But Labour said the emails had been "selectively leaked" to "misrepresent their overall contents".

A spokesperson said: "The Labour Party takes all complaints of antisemitism extremely seriously and we are committed to rooting it out of our party. All complaints about antisemitism are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures. We can't comment on individual cases.

"Lines have been selectively leaked from emails to misrepresent their overall contents."

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