Diane Abbott's local Labour party under fire over anti-semitism motion

Posted On: 
1st March 2019

Diane Abbott’s local Labour branch has come under fire after it backed a call for the party to come out fighting against claims of institutional anti-semitism.

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott is said to have been present but not involved at the meeting last night
Credit: 
PA Images

Labour MPs said the Hackney North Constituency Labour Party should be investigated and suspended as they condemned the “disgraceful” motion that was passed at a meeting on Thursday night.

Meanwhile, a senior Labour source said the CLP should focus on defeating the Tories "rather than looking inwards and fueling internal divisions".

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The motion - which came in the week Chris Williamson was suspended for saying Labour had been "too apologetic" over anti-semitism - said the party was “allowing ourselves to be branded as racist” while “figures like [former Prime Minister] Tony Blair” are allowed to remain members.

And it called on Labour bosses to “immediately implement trigger ballot procedures” to boot out MPs it accused of “slander” against the party.

Shadow Home Secretary Ms Abbott was reportedly present at the CLP meeting last night but did not take part in the debate.

Labour MP Stella Creasy called on the party' general secretary, Jennie Formby, to “investigate for the sake of all”.

She added on Twitter: “This is disgraceful - what on earth is going on in Hackney North labour that such a motion can be put forward?”

Fellow Labour MP Ian Murray meanwhile warned that the party must “listen and learn” to stop other MPs defecting like the eight who formed the Independent Group last month.

He added: “I hope this CLP is suspended and put in special measures.”

A Labour party source said local parties “are not involved in individual disciplinary cases and can't influence them, which would be entirely inappropriate”.

They added: “Rather than looking inwards and fueling internal divisions, we should be focusing on campaigning, developing our hugely popular manifesto and working together to fight the Tories.”

A Labour spokesperson said: “We completely reject claims of institutional anti-semitism.

“Anti-semitism complaints received since April 2018 relate to about 0.1% of our membership, but one anti-semite in our party is one too many.

“We are determined to tackle anti-semitism and root it out of our party once and for all.”

A similar motion passed by the Sheffield Hallam Labour party on Thursday also added a linesaying Chris Williamson had been “falsely accused of anti-semitism”.

Ms Formby wrote to local parties last year telling them not to pass motions about individual disciplinary cases since local members had no information about the cases and could not affect the outcome.

READ THE FULL MOTION PASSED BY HACKNEY NORTH BELOW

This CLP notes with increasing alarm the acceptance of the 'fact' that the Labour party is 'institutionally anti-semitic' by not only the media, but the right wing of the PLP.The accusation of 'institutional anti-semitism' in the Labour party is asserted as a fact, despite data released by the party which show a 0.08% incidence of anti-semitic behaviour by party members over the last ten months.

This has become a daily feature of the political debate over the last couple of weeks. It is distracting people's attention away from the calamitous consequences of the Tory Government's continuing austerity and its disastrous handling of the Brexit issue as it nears the 29 March deadline.

It is a scandal that we are allowing ourselves to be branded as a racist party. Meanwhile, figures like Tony Blair - who bear responsibility for the death and destruction of the Iraq War and who repeatedly, openly attacked the democratically elected leadership of the party - are allowed to remain as Labour members. We completely reject such double standards.  

Furthermore, we call upon the NEC to release a statement firmly rejecting the accusation that Labour is in any way 'institutionally racist', making it clear that Labour and its current leader have a proud record of fighting racism and will continue to do so.

We must also be clear that to defeat racism, we have to fight the conditions that cause it. It is the capitalist system, and its relentless crises, unemployment, insecurity and unaffordable housing that foster racism. It is the apologists for it in the media and the Conservative party who promote racism.

We also call on the NEC to immediately implement trigger ballot procedures in all constituencies in order to allow the party membership to decide who should represent them in parliament. It is unacceptable to allow our representatives to slander the party and its members whilst we put them into office.