JN Labour Party Conference Diary: Day One
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Labour Party Conference

JN Labour Party Conference Diary: Day One

Lee Harpin brings you all the major talking points from Brighton, including the return of a former councillor and a controversial badge on a Labour MP

Sunday was a momentous day at Labour Conference for many reasons – not least for the fact that it emerged that one of the high-profile departures from the party under Jeremy Corbyn had decided to rejoin.

Langleben’s return

Attendees to fringe events held by the Labour First group and the Jewish Labour Movement would have heard mentions made by former Jewish MP Ruth Smeeth of Adam Langleben’s pivotal role in getting the EHRC to investigate Jeremy Corbyn’s party.

But there was also more news to be shared with those at both gatherings. Langleben had renewed his Labour Party membership – two and a half years after quitting.

Adam Langleben

In February 2019, Langleben, a senior figure in JLM and former Labour councillor, had famously written an open letter to Corbyn saying he could no longer remain in the party due to anti-Jewish racism.

It is a testament to the changes that have taken place under Keir Starmer that he now feels confident enough to rejoin.

Buttler’s JVL badge 

Meanwhile, questions were being asked of Labour’s Brent South MP today – after a photograph emerged of her holding up a Lesbians For Labour T-shirt, which also revealed an upside down badge of the Jewish Voice For Labour group underneath the right arm.

Dawn Buttler and her JVL badge

Some observers suggested the JVL badge was pinned onto Dawn’s conference pass – even though many of the group’s members and expelled or suspended from Labour, mainly over their support of other banned organisations.

Or may, just maybe, the badge was pinned onto the T-shirt Dawn was holding up – and she hadn’t noticed it? We have contacted her to ask…

Who says our Jewish communal leaders don’t put the hours in?

Labour antisemitism rule change 

The crucial vote on Labour’s antisemitism rule changes took place on a Sunday – reason enough for senior figures from the Board of Deputies, Jewish Leadership Council and the London Jewish Forum to travel down to Brighton to witness events.

Jewish News spotted new Board chief executive Michael Wegier president Marie van der Zyl, out-going communications chief Phil Rosenberg and public affairs officer Daniel Sugarman in Sussex after the momentous vote took place.

Phil Rosenberg and Michael Wegier at the specially constructed Board sukkah outside conference.

London Jewish Forum chair Adrian Cohen, dressed very smartly, was also seen on the seafront looking pleased with the outcome of conference proceedings.

Meanwhile Claudia Mendoza, the JLC’s co-chair had also taken the Thames Link train down to the south-coast – and she wasn’t here for the sun-bathing either.

The JLC had arranged a successful visit to an impressive new Brighton shul and community building for Labour’s Jo Stevens, the shadow digital, culture, media and sport secretary in the morning.

Hard-working Mendoza hung around in Brighton as the result from conference became known.

Phil Rosenberg and Michael Wegier had some succot celebrations, at the specially constructed Board succah outside conference.

Palestinian fashion missing 

Either they’ve become another victim of the post-Brexit delivery crisis, or they’ve fallen out of fashion, but one of the most noticeable thing about this year’s Labour Conference is the lack of Palestinian badges and lanyards amongst delegates.

In the Corbyn era, you looked out of place if you didn’t have some form of Palestine fashion merchandise on show.

One individual who was still sporting a Palestinian lanyard was Mish Rahman, who sits on Labour’s NEC.

But he ran a mile when Jewish News attempted to speak to him outside the Brighton Centre on Sunday.

Suspect I’ll see rather more Palestine fashion on display when I venture into the Momentum backed The World Transformed event also in the city this week.

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