Exclusive: Two shadow ministers to take on ‘diverse communities’ responsibilities

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Exclusive: Two shadow ministers to take on ‘diverse communities’ responsibilities

Kate Osamor and Sarah Champion will take on Dawn Butler's role, after her resignation from Jeremy Corbyn's shadow cabinet

Justin Cohen is the News Editor at the Jewish News

Kate Osamor and Sarah Champion
Kate Osamor and Sarah Champion

Shadow ministers Kate Osamor and Sarah Champion will share the responsibilities of the Labour’s minister for diverse communities, Jewish News has learnt.

It is understood no one will be formally appointed to the role for the time being following the resignation of Dawn Butler, but the shadow international development and women and equalities secretaries will continue her work at the party’s top table.

Champion has been vocal in her support of the Jewish Labour Movement during meetings of the NEC equalities committee. However both are fiercely critical of Israeli policy, with Osamor recently signing a letter attacking the Government for its crackdown on town hall boycotts and calling for a halt to the arms trade with Israel.

Butler, who left the front bench over Jeremy Corbyn’s position on Brexit, has meanwhile expressed her intention to continue working with minority groups within the party – and announced plans for a manifesto for diverse communities to be launched ahead of the next election.

She last week hosted a conference of groups affiliated to the party, at which the Jewish Labour Movement gave a presentation on tackling anti-Semitism. “I remain committed to this work,” she told the Jewish News. “I am receiving full support from the leadership and the party organisation because we all agree this is vital; work for us and the country.

“The conference was well attended with representatives from many faith and race groups within the Party. I am sure that the close collaboration between the groups will be of great benefit to the party and our communities.”

While insisting some progress had been made since diverse communities portfolio was created, Butler said some people “filled me with disappointment. These individuals were intent on fanning the flames of division”.

Butler, in an interview with this newspaper in December, acknowledged that the cases of Ken Livingstone, Jackie Walker and the Oxford University Labour Club were “unfinished business” which must be dealt with before Jewish leaders would engage in full discussions on broader issues. She said it was “evident” some allegations of anti-Semitism hadn’t been adequately dealt with and criticised the failure to update those who complained of harassment at OULC during a probe that ended last month without any actions.

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