John Mann made independent government adviser on antisemitism

John Mann made independent government adviser on antisemitism

Chair of All Party Parliamentary Group on Jew-hate gets new role tackling antisemitism, from outgoing PM Theresa May

John Mann speaking at #EnoughIsEnough - Demonstration against anti-Semitism 

Photo Credit: Marc Morris
John Mann speaking at #EnoughIsEnough - Demonstration against anti-Semitism Photo Credit: Marc Morris

In one of her final acts as Prime Minister, Theresa May has appointed a Labour MP who chairs the parliamentary group on antisemitism, as an independent government adviser on the issue.

John Mann is to take up the role after having commissioned two inquiries into Jew-hatred in the past 15 years, which helped shape how the problem is addressed in Britain.

Mann, who heads the All Party Parliamentary Group on Antisemitism, said: “I welcome this opportunity to be a point of contact for the Jewish community. The first major piece of work will be to look at how Jewish teenagers see their future in Britain. I look forward to discussions with the Jewish community in agreeing a work plan and a set of priorities”.

Mrs May said: “Anti-Semitism is racism. “It has absolutely no place in our society and we must fight its bitter scourge wherever it rears its head.

“John Mann is, without exception, a key voice on this matter.

“He has frequently campaigned in the House of Commons on this issue and has tirelessly used his role as a politician to speak out on behalf of victims of anti-Jewish racism.

“I am confident he will bring the level of cross-party independent advice needed to advise Government and to ensure we see progress on this very important issue.”

The appointment was welcomed by the Antisemitism Policy Trust, whose Chief Executive, Danny Stone said: “John Mann’s Twitter biography says he is “not afraid to tell it how it is”. That’s how he has approached the fight against antisemitism all his life, and I have no doubt that is how he will continue in this new role. I look forward to working closely with him into the future.”

The Jewish Leadership Council tweeted that it was a “We applaud the Government on the appointment of John Mann as an independent adviser on antisemitism. This is a significant step in the Government’s continued effort to take decisive action against antisemitism.”

The Board of Deputies also gave its congratulations, with president Marie van der Zyl saying that “John Mann has for decades been a towering figure in the fight against antisemitism. Were it not for his expertise, passion and determination, we would all be diminished in understanding and combatting this historic racism. We congratulate the government on this bold and important appointment”.

Downing Street said that Mr Mann would be responsible for providing the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) with independent advice on the most effective methods to tackle antisemitism.

He will also work with Lord Pickles, the UK’s special envoy for post-Holocaust issues, as well as Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the special envoy for freedom of religion and belief, “to ensure a consistent approach”.

The pro-Brexit left-wing MP was thrust into the limelight in 2015 when he confronted former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, after the latter claimed Hitler had ‘supported Zionism’. He accused the veteran of being a “Nazi apologist” and of distorting history.

The Bassetlaw politician also spoke out against Jew-hate in Labour, told the January debate on Holocaust Memorial Day, that Shoah “revisionism is a problem all over Europe. It’s a problem in my political party. It’s a problem in this country. It’s a problem that we are not facing up to sufficiently robustly or successfully.”

His appointment by the PM comes at a sensitive time for the Labour leader as Mr Corbyn is presenting an initiative to the party’s governing National Executive Committee (NEC) on Tuesday aimed at speeding up the process dealing with allegations of anti-Semitism.

However, some MPs have said that Mr Corbyn’s plan does not go far enough.

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