LFI chair faces no confidence vote for ‘fuelling and inflaming’ Labour row

LFI chair faces no confidence vote for ‘fuelling and inflaming’ Labour row

Joan Ryan MP says her critics were displaying “bullying, vindictive behaviour” over claims she was 'smearing' Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

Joan Ryan MP
Joan Ryan MP

The MP who chairs Labour Friends of Israel is facing a vote of no confidence next week as party members in her constituency accuse her of stoking a backlash against Jeremy Corbyn over anti-Semitism.

Joan Ryan, the MP for Enfield North who regained the marginal seat in 2015, will face a motion on Thursday accusing her of “smearing” Corbyn and of “fuelling and indeed inflaming” the leader’s “trial by media”.

This week she wrote to local party members saying: “I joined this party 34 years ago to fight racism. Anti-Semitism is racism. Nothing will stop me standing up and speaking out. It is my duty to do so.”

There were 300 Labour members in Enfield North before Corbyn became leader but there are now more than 1,000. It has been reported that the motion was submitted by a group of about 30.

Ryan said her accusers were displaying “bullying, vindictive behaviour” in an echo of the recent resignation letter from fellow Labour MP Frank Fields, who said he was leaving Labour because of the anti-Semitism and a “culture of intolerance, nastiness and intimidation”.

Ryan said the summer “has been dominated by shocking stories about anti-Semitism in our ranks,” adding: “I am ashamed of the response of our Party and its leadership. We find ourselves in a terrible position where the Jewish community no longer has confidence in Labour’s ability to recognise and deal with anti-Semitism.”

She added that Corbyn should “apologise for the pain and anguish he has caused the Jewish community for comments he has made and the company he has kept”.

Left-wing grassroots group Momentum, which supports Corbyn, this week proposed changes to the party so that sitting MPs could face open reselection. It said the move would help usher in “a new generation of MPs”.

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