A Jewish activist who resigned from his local Momentum branch after feeling ‘unsafe’, has been chosen to represent Labour in Braintree at the next election.
Joshua Garfield was confirmed as the opposition’s candidate in the Brexit-backing Essex constituency last Thursday, where he’ll challenge Tory chairman James Cleverly’s 17,000 majority.
Speaking to Jewish News, the Stratford councillor said it would be a “Brexit election”, but that Labour antisemitism row would also feature on the doorstep.
“I don’t believe there is a large Jewish community in Braintree, but if someone does bring it up, I’ll talk openly about it.
“I’ve always been outspoken on the issue.
“I think it’s something the party should be dealing with far better than it ever has, and I won’t change my stance on that.”
He said: “it’s really important that candidates like myself, who are Jewish and outspoken on the issue do maintain their involvement in the party”, to show there is a diversity of opinion.
Sidestepping a question about pushing for a Jeremy Corbyn government, he said: “I’ll be campaigning for the next government to not allow a no deal Brexit”.
He added: “Everyone is very aware of where our disagreements lie. And, if we’re successful in the election I’m sure he will stay. If not I’m sure he’ll go.”
If elected with Corbyn as leader, he said “I would take the line of many Labour MPs that have been steadfast in their vocalness where they disagree with him – and where they agree with him.”
Garfield said he’s happy to support many of Corbyn’s domestic policies, “but there are places where even as an MP I would publicly disagree.”
The activist, who sits on the Jewish Labour Movement’s (JLM) National Executive Committee as its Local Government Officer, said he would also stand down during his election run “to ensure there are no conflicts between the campaign that I’ll be running and the interests of the JLM.”
This comes after he resigned as a Youth Officer of Newham Momentum in April 2018 claiming he “felt sometimes unsafe, and most certainly untrusted as a Jewish member of the Steering Group.”
In Braintree, he added that there was “no there’s reason for me to feel unsafe”.