Labour peer to quit party over anti-Semitism if Jeremy Corbyn remains leader

Posted On: 
9th August 2016

A Labour peer has said he will quit the party if Jeremy Corbyn is re-elected as leader. 

Lord Mitchell in the House of Lords earlier this year
Parliament TV

Parry Mitchell, a Jewish member of the House of Lords and a former frontbencher under Ed Miliband, said anti-Semitism in Labour had been “permitted to fester” under Mr Corbyn.

In a letter to The Times this morning, Lord Mitchell said the inquiry led by Shami Chakrabarti, which concluded the party was not “over-run” by anti-Semitism, was an “insipid whitewash”.

Tom Watson brands Shami Chakrabarti peerage a ‘mistake’

Jeremy Corbyn faces backlash for giving peerage to Shami Chakrabarti

David Cameron appoints 13 new Conservative peers

The Chakrabarti inquiry was launched after a string of reported anti-Semitic incidents from Labour members and councillors.

But the independence of her report has been questioned by several leading figures in the Jewish community – including the Chief Rabbi – after she was nominated by Mr Corbyn to join the House of Lords.

Lord Mitchell suggested there could have been a deal made between the former director of Liberty and the Labour leader.

“As a Jew, I find the allegations of anti-Semitism in the Labour party very distressing,” he wrote in this morning’s newspaper.

“Even more upsetting is the way Jeremy Corbyn dismisses what he has permitted to fester at the highest levels of our party.

“I had hoped that the Chakrabarti report commissioned by Corbyn would get to the bottom of allegations of antisemitism: sadly Ms Chakrabarti produced an insipid whitewash. Indeed, she seems to have done her master’s bidding to absolve the party of blame. Her prize? The only Labour peerage awarded by Mr Corbyn...

“I have come to the painful conclusion that were Mr Corbyn to be re-elected next month, then I will have to resign my membership of the Labour party. I cannot remain a member of a party that goes against such a crucial issue that I hold dear.”

Mr Corbyn has repeatedly said there is no place for anti-Semitism or other forms of prejudice in Labour.

Lord Mitchell was part of the shadow business team from 2012 to 2013 and led a successful campaign to clamp down on payday lenders. 

The winner of the leadership contest between Mr Corbyn and challenger Owen Smith is due to be announced on 24 September.