McDonnell lacks ‘honesty and integrity’ by defending Jackie Walker, says Board
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McDonnell lacks ‘honesty and integrity’ by defending Jackie Walker, says Board

Board of Deputies president Marie van der Zyl eviscerates shadow chancellor for backing Jackie Walker

Joe Millis is a journalist

John McDonnell being interviewed by Jewish News. 

Credit: Marc Morris Photography
John McDonnell being interviewed by Jewish News. Credit: Marc Morris Photography

Board of Deputies president Marie van der Zyl has launched a scathing attack on John McDonnell, accusing him of “double-speak” and lacking “honesty and integrity” after the shadow chancellor appeared to support a suspended Labour activist.

Addressing the he Labour Representation Committee (LRC) conference on Saturday, he said Jackie Walker, who once said that Jews financed the global slave trade, had faced “vile” abuse, and he could “understand why she is so angry”.

McDonnell, the honorary chair of the hard-left LRC, added he would “take up” her case with Jeremy Corbyn and General Secretary Jennie Formby.

Only last week, McDonnell appeared to side with Jewish Labour Party members, saying he had seen “horrendous” antisemitic abuse towards Jewish members,

However, when Liverpool Wavertree MP Luciana Berger faced a later withdrawn no confidence vote by hard-left members of her constituency party, McDonnell suggested that the Jewish MP needed to recant rumours that she “has been associated with these rumours of a breakaway new party”.

In a statement on Sunday, van der Zyl said: “The double-speak from John McDonnell is loud and clear. In condemning antisemitism in public but defending people like Jackie Walker in private, he has proven he has no honesty or integrity.

“If Jeremy Corbyn does nothing about this, then he too is complicit.”

At the Saturday meeting, McDonnell said: “I’ve just seen some of the scale of the abuse that she’s been getting. I’m hoping one day that people will see what she’s had to go through in terms of the vile comments that have been made about her.”

According to a recording reported in the Sunday Times, Walker attended the LRC conference and repeated claims that accusations of antisemitism were an attempt to undermine the party’s leadership.

Jackie Walker (right) with Tony Greenstein (left) in front of a Momentum banner outside the Labour Party’s HQ

She added that Labour MPs leading the fight against antisemitism, including Berger, were “untouchable”, asking why the leadership had failed to “censure” them.

The Board of Deputies accused him of “double-speak” in condemning antisemitism in public but defending Jackie Walker, adding he has “proven he has no honesty or integrity”.

A spokesman said: “If Jeremy Corbyn does nothing about this then he too is complicit.”

Ms Walker attended the LRC conference on Saturday, where she repeated claims that accusations of antisemitism are an attempt to undermine the party’s leadership.

She added that Labour MPs leading the fight against antisemitism, including Luciana Berger, were “untouchable”, asking why the leadership had failed to “censure” them.

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