Labour MPs 'plot no confidence vote' in Jeremy Corbyn amid bitter anti-Semitism row

Posted On: 
2nd September 2018

Labour MPs are plotting a fresh attempt to embarrass Jeremy Corbyn through a no confidence vote, it has emerged.

A string of Labour MPs are pushing for a no confidence vote in the party's leader
Credit: 
PA

The Labour leader has faced heavy criticism from some MPs in recent weeks over his handling of allegations of anti-Jewish abuse in the party, with Birkenhead MP Frank Field on Thursday resigning the whip with a warning that Labour was becoming "a force for anti-Semitism in British politics".

According to the Sun on Sunday, critics of Mr Corbyn are now pushing for a symbolic ballot on his leadership in a bid to highlight their anger over the row.

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One MP told the paper: "Having a vote would be our way of telling the public that most Labour MPs do get what’s going on, we’re on your side - it would be about sending a message.

"It’s not about triggering a leadership contest, we just want to show the public we feel their angst over the issue. There needs to be some censure over this."

The Labour leader previously saw off a challenge to his leadership in 2016 after MPs voted 172 to 40 against him in a no confidence vote.

Up to 15 Labour backbenchers are now reported to be considering a split from the party.

The threat to Mr Corbyn came as Labour former prime minister Tony Blair branded the controversy over anti-Semitism "a truly shameful episode for the Labour party".

The ex-PM told Euronews: "To see a situation where the Jewish community... feels really alienated and anxious, it’s a really terrible thing to have done."

He warned that Mr Corbyn's stance on security issues was "causing real difficulties for those of us who want to stay in the Labour party and want to see it come back to sense".

Barking MP Margaret Hodge, who will today appear alongside Labour former Prime Minister Gordon Brown at the Jewish Labour Movement's conference, has meanwhile renewed her criticism of Mr Corbyn over the issue, accusing the leadership of harbouring a "hatred of Jews".

The MP told the Sunday Times magazine: "Jeremy has allowed anti-semitism and racism to run rife. He needs to renounce much of what he did."

NEC VOTE LOOMS

The fresh row comes ahead of a crunch meeting of Labour's National Executive Committee on Tuesday, at which party bosses will decide whether or not to fully adopt an internationally-agreed definition of anti-Semitism after heavy criticism from Jewish community groups.

An earlier move by the NEC not to use the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition - which the leadership fears could stifle criticism of Israeli policy on Palestine - prompted groups including the Jewish Labour Movement and the Jewish Leadership Council to hit out Mr Corbyn.

The NEC then reopened talks with Jewish groups on the code, and Mr Corbyn acknowledged that they "should have been consulted more extensively at an earlier stage".

He said: "People who dish out antisemitic poison need to understand: you do not do it in my name. You are not my supporters and have no place in our movement."