Louise Ellman quits Labour with furious blast at Jeremy Corbyn over anti-semitism

Posted On: 
17th October 2019

Louise Ellman has launched a furious attack on Jeremy Corbyn's handling of Labour anti-semitism as she announced she had quit the party.

Dame Louise Ellman has been a Labour MP since 1997.
Credit: 
PA

The Liverpool Riverside MP - who was first elected in 1997 and was a Labour member for 55 years - said Mr Corbyn was "not fit to serve as our Prime Minister" and had allowed anti-Jewish abuse to become "mainstream" in the party.

Dame Louise, who is Jewish and has served as the president of Labour Friends of Israel, faced a local no confidence move on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.

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In a statement announcing her departure, the long-serving MP said she would not join any other party and still hoped to "return to my political home" in the future.

She said: "My decisions has been truly agonising, as it has been for the thousands of other party members who have already left."

Dame Louise added: "I believe that Jeremy Corbyn is not fit to serve as our Prime Minister. With a looming general election and the possibility of him becoming Prime Minister, I feel I have to take a stand. I cannot advocate a government led by Jeremy Corbyn."

Warning that anti-semitism had "become mainstream in the Labour Party", Dame Louise accused Mr Corbyn of allowing anti-semites to feel "comfortable".

"Jeremy Corbyn - who spent three decades on the backbenches consorting with, and never confronting, anti-semites, Holocaust deniers and terrorists - has attracted the support of too many anti-semites," she said.

"The Labour Party is no longer a safe place for Jews and Jeremy Corbyn must bear the responsibility for this. We cannot allow him to do to the country what he has done to the Labour Party."

'NO EXCUSE'

The decision was met with dismay by Labour MP Ruth Smeeth, who said Dame Louise had been an "inspiration" as well as an "ally and a friend".

She added: "There is no excuse, no explanation, no justification for the anti-Jewish hate and abuse that she has suffered.

"The leadership of the Labour Party should be ashamed that this is happening on their watch. I am truly disgusted."

Mike Katz, chairman of the Jewish Labour Movement, said Dame Louise had been "bullied and hounded out of her party".

He said: "What clearer signal can there be that, as Dame Louise says, Labour is currently not a safe space for Jews.

"This is a day of great shame for the Labour Party."

Former Labour MP Luciana Berger - who quit the party earlier this year over anti-Jewish abuse - meanwhile took to social media to urge her former colleagues to take a stand.

The new Liberal Democrat MP said: "Please don’t tweet about how upsetting/awful it is that Dame Louise Ellman and I have left Labour if you’re in a position of leadership and still in there. Don’t be a bystander. Actions speak louder than tweets."

A Labour Party spokesperson said: "Jeremy Corbyn thanks Louise Ellman for her service to the Labour Party over many years.

"Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party are fully committed to the support, defence and celebration of the Jewish community and continue to take robust action to root out antisemitism in the party and wider society."

They added: "Jeremy Corbyn has consistently supported struggles for human rights and justice around the world and made the right calls in the interests of security and peace."