Tom Watson says Jenny Tonge would be “welcome” in Labour
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Tom Watson says Jenny Tonge would be “welcome” in Labour

The ex-Liberal Democrat peer is considering defecting to Labour

Baroness Jenny Tonge
Baroness Jenny Tonge

A peer and former Liberal Democrat MP is considering defecting to Labour because Jeremy Corbyn’s “honest” politics are “a breath of fresh air”.

Baroness Tonge claimed “lots” of Lib Dems were thinking about shifting their allegiance following the left-winger’s election as Leader of the Opposition.

Her comments came after Lib Dem leader Tim Farron raised the prospect of winning over Labour members who were concerned about Mr Corbyn’s politics and revealed he had been in contact with opposition MPs “distressed” about the direction the party was taking.

Lady Tonge, a former MP for Richmond Park, quit the Lib Dem parliamentary group in 2012 after refusing to apologise for saying Israel “is not going to be there forever”; however, she remains a member of the party.

However, Mr Farron insisted that because she had resigned the party whip “she is not ours”.

Lady Tonge told the Sunday Times: “I know that lots of Lib Dems are contemplating supporting Jeremy Corbyn, including me.”

She added: “I like and admire Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell (the shadow chancellor). I think they are some of the most honest people you could come across.

“On defence and foreign policy, Palestine and the bomb I agree with them and they are very green. I am not sure on Europe. I think the rich should be paying for the recession.”

Lady Tonge said she had known Mr Corbyn for a long time, sharing support for Palestine and meeting Hamas leaders on a joint trip to Gaza.

“I marched alongside Tony Benn and Jeremy Corbyn, one on either side. I went to Gaza with Jeremy Corbyn and we met Hamas leaders together. We go back,” she said.

Mr Farron told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show: “I spoke to Jenny Tonge last night. She is not a member of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, she sits as an independent, so in so far as I own anybody she is not ours to start off with.

“She takes a view on Israel-Palestine which she is entitled to take. I believe in the two-state solution. I also believe that you don’t get there by backing extremists who support violence.

“It’s very important if we are ever going to solve that incredibly important problem in the Middle East, you don’t do it by making out one side is the lone transgressor. You have got to make sure we have a solution which is going to work and means that two-state solution must come to pass.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments