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Thu, 13 August 2020

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Theresa May appoints Labour MP John Mann as Government anti-semitism adviser

Theresa May appoints Labour MP John Mann as Government anti-semitism adviser
3 min read

Labour backbencher John Mann has been appointed by Theresa May as an independent adviser to the Government on tackling anti-semitism.


The outgoing Prime Minister praised the Bassetlaw MP, who chairs a cross-party group on the issue, as “a key voice” on campaigning against anti-Jewish racism.

He will work alongside ex-Tory minister Lord Pickles, who will act as the UK’s Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues, while Foreign Office minister Lord Ahmad will serve as a Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion and Belief.

Mrs May said anti-semitism had “absolutely no place” in society and more needed to be done to defeat it. 

“John Mann is, without exception, a key voice on this matter,” she said.

“He has frequently campaigned in the House of Commons on this issue and has tirelessly used his role as a politician to speak out on behalf of victims of anti-Jewish racism.

“I am confident he will bring the level of cross-party independent advice needed to advise Government and to ensure we see progress on this very important issue.” 

Mr Mann, who has been a prominent critic of his own party’s handling of its anti-semitism crisis, said the issue continued to be a “cause for concern” in the UK generally.

He pointed to recent hate crime figures, which revealed that Jewish people were the most likely group to experience religiously motivated hate crime.

“If we stay silent on the issue of anti-semitism, we unwittingly allow cowardice and bigotry to speak its own repulsive language,” he said.

“I will continue to call out those throwing stones of hatred at Jewish people, and will endeavour to give a clarion call to Government on prejudice and discrimination on this issue."

It is understood that Mr Mann plans to remain a Labour MP while advising the Government.

Mrs May, who will step down as Prime Minister on Wednesday, has also appointed Imam Qari Asim to provide expert advice on a definition of Islamophobia for the Government.

The Deputy Chair of the Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group said: “I am deeply committed to working across Muslim communities and with relevant stakeholders to formulate a legally robust, comprehensive and workable definition of Islamophobia.

“I am honoured to be entrusted with this role, which will have a far reaching impact in protecting British Muslims and tackling anti-Muslim hatred.”

Communities Secretary, James Brokenshire, said: “Imam Asim’s appointment marks a further step in helping us to achieve that goal and ensures that we develop an effective definition of Islamophobia which commands widespread support.”

The move comes weeks after a poll revealed that a majority of Conservative Party members believe that Islam is a threat to the British way of life.

Boris Johnson, who will be sworn in as PM this week, and his former rival for the leadership Jeremy Hunt, faced questions during the campaign to commit to an independent inquiry.

Mr Hunt said a probe was needed to “root out” the scourge, while Mr Johnson said he supported a "general investigation" into all forms of prejudice.

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