A former Labour MP who recently chaired the Jewish Labour Movement has said he used his grace and favour parliamentary pass 48 times owing to the party’s antisemitism crisis.
Ivor Caplin, MP for Hove for eight years from 1997-2005, now runs Ivor Caplin Consultancy. He says he has “regular contact with both politicians and officials” but this week said his prolific use of the Westminster pass was strictly for JLM business.
“Given the antisemitism crisis in the party at the time I made numerous visits to the house to discuss this with MPs, peers and others, including journalists,” he said. “I do not and never have used the house for the purposes of my business.”
Caplin’s frequent use of his ‘Category X’ grace and favour pass – roughly one in every four days of parliamentary sitting – was revealed this week following a Freedom of Information request.
The passes grant the bearer access to the corridors of power, as well as parliament’s subsidised restaurants and bars, and MPs who serve at least one term are eligible to apply, but critics say the system is being abused by lobbyists.
Caplin, who is Jewish, served first as JLM’s national spokesperson, then as its interim chair, in a role that lasted less than a year, before Mike Katz was elected in April 2019.
In July 2018 there were reports that Caplin “had been played” after attending a meeting with Labour’s then general-secretary Jennie Formby ahead of the publication of the party’s new code of conduct on antisemitism.
It was only several months later that the party’s leadership finally adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism with all its working examples.
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...
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.
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.
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.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
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.