Former Labour vice chair Michael Dugher to quit party over ‘institutional anti-Semitism’

Posted On: 
17th February 2019

Former Labour vice chairman Michael Dugher last night revealed he is set to quit the party, saying it has become "institutionally anti-Semitic".

Michael Dugher has said he will leave Labour after being a member for nearly three decades
PA Images

The ex-shadow transport minister, who stood down as MP for Barnsley East in 2017, said the party he joined nearly three decades ago “no longer exists” and he could not justify paying the membership fee.

The announcement comes days after Labour revealed it had received 673 allegations of anti-Semitism by its members over the past 10 months, resulting in 12 individuals being expelled.

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Mr Dugher, who served as vice chair from 2011 to 2014 under Ed Miliband's leadership and was an aide to Gordon Brown in No 10, accused Labour of repeatedly failing to “adequately tackle” its problem of anti-Jewish racism.

 "I will continue to have lots of dear friends in the Labour party, including many talented MPs and hard-working local councillors who are fantastically dedicated public servants,” he wrote in the Sun on Sunday.

“Yet in all good conscience, I can no longer justify paying subs to a party which I now regard as institutionally anti-Semitic."

“For too many people, it is no longer seen as the 'Labour party' but is seen instead as the ‘Anti-Semitic Party’”.

The now-head of UK Music said he wanted to cry when he saw that Jewish Labour MPs Ruth Smeeth and Luciana Berger had to have police protection because of the abuse and threats they have received.

And he admitted to being “angry” at Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell for questioning Ms Berger’s loyalty to the party when asked about moves to deselect her, rather than offering his support.

The pregnant MP had been facing a motion of no confidence from her constituency party of Liverpool Wavertree, including by one person who branded her a “disruptive Zionist”.

Mr Dugher also took aim at Jeremy Corbyn, who he said has “been dogged by allegations of anti-Semitism his whole political life”.

“His excuse always seems to be that he was 'present but not involved'. That excuse just doesn’t wash anymore,” he argued.

“Today, under his leadership, anti-Semites in the Labour party are repeatedly let off with a rap on the knuckles, rather than being booted out for good.

“Time after time, allegations are brought to the party’s attention. But too often the Jew-haters are given a free pass."


It comes as a YouGov poll found that more people think Mr Corbyn is anti-Semitic (34%) or don’t know (32%) than those who believe he is not.

The study also showed that a mere 4% believe the Labour leader had been “very competent” in handling the issue, while 60% said he has been incompetent.