Labour MP cancels Houthi speaker event after ‘antisemitism’ claims

Labour MP cancels Houthi speaker event after ‘antisemitism’ claims

Ahmed Alshami was invited to attend the Tuesday meeting of the Stop the War Coalition in Westminster

Lloyd Russell-Moyle, left, Dame Margaret Hodge, right
Lloyd Russell-Moyle, left, Dame Margaret Hodge, right

An event in Parliament has been cancelled following pressure to axe the talk with a campaigner accused of having links to the “antisemitic” Houthi group.

A member of Lloyd Russell-Moyle’s parliamentary office confirmed today the event was cancelled yesterday.

The Labour MP had agreed to host Ahmed Alshami at a Tuesday meeting of the Stop the War Coalition in Westminster.

He was billed as having participated with the Houthi movement, whose slogan says “death to Israel, curse the Jews”, in UN peace talks.

The Brighton Kemptown MP initially defended the invitation, but later issued a statement calling for the removal of the speaker.

He said he believes “it is necessary for members of those committees to have meetings with different parties to conflicts, even when we vehemently disagree with their views, in order to bring about peace”.

He added: “On this basis, I agreed to host the Stop the War briefing around Yemen.

“Stop the War arranged the speaker but on further investigation of the speaker it has become clear that it would be inappropriate to give this person a public platform in a public meeting.

“I therefore have informed Stop the War that they should remove this speaker from the event or it will be cancelled.”

Russell-Moyle faced criticism from Labour colleague Dame Margaret Hodge, who has been a prominent voice against antisemitism in the party and condemned the invitation, as did Jewish groups.

Margaret Hodge told Jewish News: “The antisemitic language and actions of the Houthi group, who will be represented at this event, are sickening.

“Inviting an organisation whose slogan states ‘death to Israel, curse the Jews’ to Parliament will do nothing to reassure the Jewish community that Labour takes the fight against antisemitism seriously.

“Lloyd Russell-Moyle should think again.”

Board of Deputies of British Jews vice president Amanda Bowman said hosting the Houthi organisation is “utterly unacceptable”.

“Lloyd Russell-Moyle should immediately disavow his support for this event,” she said.

The Jewish Leadership Council added: “Peace in Yemen is vital, but nobody should roll out the red carpet for a Houthi spokesperson without challenging his antisemitism.”

The UK Government backs the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthi rebels that started the conflict with the takeover of the capital Sana’a.

In excess of 91,600 people have been killed in the civil war, according to the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project.

The Government has had regular contact with the Houthis, which Downing Street criticised for “destabilising activity” including recent missile strikes in Saudi Arabia.

read more: