Labour’s John Mann to stand down as MP to become Government’s anti-semitism tsar

Posted On: 
8th September 2019

Labour MP John Mann has blasted Jeremy Corbyn as he revealed he will quit at the election in order to focus on his role as the Government’s anti-semitism tsar.

John Mann has long been a critic of Labour's handling of its anti-semitism crisis
Credit: 
PA Images

The member for Bassetlaw, who has been a staunch critic of the Labour leader, said he could not stand for the party at any snap election beacuse it had been “hijacked” by anti-semites.

In a blistering attack, Mr Mann accused Mr Corbyn of giving the “green light” to anti-Jewish racists by failing to confront the crisis within Labour’s ranks.

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“Every time I go into a meeting with a group of Jewish people, I wince when they raise the issue of the Labour party and Corbyn,” he said.

“It is impossible to overstate the anger that I have about that. He has not just hijacked my political party – he has hijacked its soul and its ethics. I will never forgive him for that.”

Mr Mann explained his decision to quit this time around, despite having stood at the 2017 election when Mr Corbyn was leader, was because “nobody thought” he could become PM.

He said: “If we had a dynamic Labour Party with a leader with a vision for positively changing the country, I would instead be spending all my time trying to get that person into No 10. But we don’t.

“I could not have stood at the next election and looked people in the eye and answered them the question they will ask an awful lot, ‘If I vote for you I’m also voting for Jeremy Corbyn to be prime minister’.

“In the 2017 election, nobody thought Corbyn would be prime minister… so I was able to say ‘he’s not going to be prime minister’.

“But I can’t do that this time and I’m not prepared to lie to my voters. And neither am I prepared to tell them that Corbyn is appropriate to be prime minister. Because I don’t think he is.”

The Labour eurosceptic’s announcement comes as Hull North MP Diana Johnson becomes the first casualty of Labour’s new trigger ballot process, in a move that means she now faces a fight to be reselected.

Mr Mann, who is standing down after 18 years in the Commons, was offered the role as an independent adviser on the anti-semitism as one of Theresa May’s last acts as Prime Minister.

The Sunday Times reports that Boris Johnson has since upgraded the role however, in a bid to demonstrate the importance of the issue to ministers.

Mr Mann added: “My one aim in this role is to turn around that situation so that Jewish teenagers know that their future is safe in this country if they wish it to be, and that there will be no impingement in any way on them and their freedoms — be it the universities they chose, the job they chose to go into, where they live, what they wear or how they live, which is a big bold objective.”