One of the Jewish community’s most steadfast friends in Parliament, Labour MP John Mann, has had to forego attending the Jewish Labour Movement conference in London on Sunday because of what he describes as a ‘hatefest’ in his own constituency party in Bassetlaw, Nottinghamshire.
In a letter to the organisers of the JLM conference, Mr Mann, who chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Antisemitism, says he is obliged to miss the conference because “some members of my local party are participating in the Williamson/Walker hatefest where they will be targeting me today”.
This is a reference to one of a series of events held by fellow Labour MP and staunch Jeremy Corbyn defender, Derby South’s Chris Williamson, who has repeatedly denounced accusations of antisemitism in the Labour Party. He appears on a number of occasions with Jackie Walker, the Momentum activist who remains suspended from Labour over allegations of antisemitism.
In response to the Williamson and Walker event, Mr Mann says his Bassetlaw Constituency Labour Party (CLP) “is making this a day of campaign action, which will include a vote supporting IHRA [the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of antisemitism]” and himself as the local MP.
Those attending what the MP describes as “the hate fest” include, he says, “those who say that I am ‘loyal to a foreign power’ and ‘paid by the Jews’. I will be celebrating their attendance by referring them for expulsion”.
A furious Mr Mann predicts: “Labour stands at a crossroad. A failure to tackle this insipid racism will mean that the Party no longer deserves to exist and will slowly and painfully die”.
Saluting “the Jewish community’s “refusal to be cowed by the new antisemitism and the vital role of JLM.”, Mr Mann has also announced that a new session of the international antisemitism conference, which he initially convened at Lancaster House in 2009, would be resumed on November 26 this year. It will, he says, “highlight the role of women Parliamentarians fighting antisemitism worldwide and to challenge the particularly vicious antisemitism targeted at Jewish women Parliamentarians.
He added: “I am calling on the Labour Party leader to automatically confirm the reselection of every female Jewish Parliamentarian as Labour candidates at the next election. The brutality and the consistency of the racism directed against Luciana, Louise, Ruth and Margaret demonstrates that the Labour Party is now becoming an institutionally racist party, with several thousand openly racist members all claiming to act in the name of Jeremy Corbyn”.