John McDonnell evokes Cable Street in call to oppose Tommy Robinson

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

John McDonnell evokes Cable Street in call to oppose Tommy Robinson

Shadow Chancellor calls for opposition to the former leader of the English Defence League, amid speculation he'll join a pro-Brexit march

Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell 

Danny Lawson/PA Wire
Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has called for a show of opposition against the “poison” politics of far-right activist Tommy Robinson, invoking the Battle of Cable Street.

With Mr Robinson expected to feature prominently in a Brexit march in London two days before the Commons votes on the UK’s EU withdrawal deal, Mr McDonnell urged Labour supporters to join a counter-demonstration.

He called for a mass protest against Mr Robinson at the December 9 march, and said: “This march isn’t about Brexit, it’s about far-right extremists dressing up in suits and pretending to be respectable.

“It doesn’t matter whether you voted leave or remain, Tommy Robinson doesn’t represent you.

“A newly-energised, well-funded network of hate is emerging, from Steve Bannon in the US to the former EDL leader Tommy Robinson at home, and it threatens the very fabric of our nation.

Mr McDonnell added: “The working class of Britain have a proud history of beating the far-right.

“In Lewisham in the 1970s the National Front were outnumbered by nearly 10 to one.

“At Cable Street, the local Jewish community and socialists from across Britain stood firm against Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts.”

Last week, the Board of Deputies condemned UKIP leader Gerard Batten for appointing English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson as an adviser on rape gangs and prison reform. They tweeted: “Today’s revelation, that UKIP leader Gerard Batten has hired Tommy Robinson as an advisor, is a disgrace. This isn’t the first time we’ve noted UKIP’s association with the far-right. They need to change course immediately.”

They also said Robinson’s invite to parliament by the party was “utterly wrong”.

McDonnell comments come after the appointment of Mr Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, as an adviser on rape gangs and prison reform to Ukip leader Gerard Batten caused controversy.

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage, who has denounced Mr Robinson as a “thug”, has called for Mr Batten to be ousted over the move.

Help perform the greatest mitzvah: save a life

While life in Israel has returned to normal and hopes are high that Britain is set for a summer without restrictions thanks to vaccines, for billions around the world there is no such imminent light at the end of the tunnel. In the majority of countries around the globe, particularly the poorest, the vaccine rollout has barely kicked off.

That's why Jewish News, the leading source of news and opinion for the entire UK community, is throwing its full weight behind UNICEF’s VaccinAid campaign by using this platform usually reserved for encouraging donations towards our own journalism to instead urge our readers around the globe to perform the greatest mitzvah: saving a life.

We have never before done this for any charity fundraiser but it's hard to recall a campaign that affects so many people, and indeed an entire planet aching for a return to normality. Just like the Chief Rabbi and Rachel Riley, we hope to boost the mission to deliver two billion vaccines, 165 million treatments and 900 million test kits around the world by the end of this year.

Please donate as much as you can, in the spirit of the Talmudic sages: “to save one life is to save the world entire”

read more: