Louise Ellman replaces Joan Ryan as chair of LFI
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Louise Ellman replaces Joan Ryan as chair of LFI

Director of Labour Friends of Israel pays tribute to both MPs for their 'enormous courage, determination and strength' in recent years

MPs Louise Ellman and Joan Ryan
MPs Louise Ellman and Joan Ryan

Louise Ellman is to replace Joan Ryan as the new chair of Labour Friends of Israel (LFI).

The Liverpool Riverside politician will take over at the pro-Israel group, with the outgoing chair taking on the role of honorary president.

This comes after Joan Ryan defected from Labour to join the Change UK – Independent Group in February, citing the party’s mishandling of antisemitism. Before quitting, she lost a vote of no confidence in her Enfield North constituency.

Paying tribute, Ellman said: “Ryan has been a tremendous and inspiring chair of LFI over the past four years” and that they will both continue “to stand up for Israel, fight anti-Zionism in all its ugly forms, and support a two-state solution, peace and coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians.”

After quitting Labour, Ryan spoke at the pro-Israel AIPAC conference in the US, lashing out at Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, saying his party “seeks to demonise and delegitimise Israel”.

Upon leaving her role, Ryan said she had “pledged to the Jewish community at last year’s LFI annual lunch that I would stand by it at all times in the battle against antisemitism. I believe my actions this year have honoured that pledge,” adding she’d “continue that battle” in her new role.

The director of LFI, Jennifer Gerber, paid tribute to both Ryan and Ellman, who is a former vice-president of the group, as having shown “enormous courage, determination and strength” in wake of the Labour antisemitism row, and she is “delighted” they will continue to work together.

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