Jewish Labour peer Lord Parry Mitchell quits party

Posted On: 
25th September 2016

A Jewish Labour peer has quit the party following Jeremy Corbyn's re-election - and warned he "doesn't have a hope in hell" of becoming Prime Minister.

Lord Mitchell says Labour won't win again in his lifetime
Parliament TV

Lord Parry Mitchell also accused Mr Corbyn of failing to crack down on anti-Semitism within his supporters, who he said now had the party "by the throat".

The peer, who was ennobled by Tony Blair and has been in the Lords since 2000, had warned in August that he would resign his Labour membership if Mr Corbyn beat Owen Smith.

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Speaking to the BBC's Sunday Politics show, he said: "Jeremy’s fine with his group of people and the membership who’ve put him in, but at the end of the day you’ve got to win an election and you’ve got to appeal to middle England and I don’t think he has a hope in hell of doing that.

"Jeremy has no leadership qualities whatsoever, his little group like him and they think he’s the Messiah, but he will never become the leader and Prime Minister of this country."

He added: "I’m Jewish and I’m very strongly Jewish and I make no bones about it and there’s no doubt in my mind that Jeremy himself is very lukewarm on this subject, he’s never been as vociferous in condemning anti-Semitism as he should be.

"I think it’s very difficult if you are Jewish and you support Israel to be a member of the Labour Party."

Lord Mitchell - who was a founding member of the SDP and twice stood as a parliamentary candidate for them in the 1980s - said he was also at odds with Mr Corbyn over his views on Nato, Trident and America.

He also echoed Neil Kinnock by predicting he would not live long enough to see Labour back in power.

"My view is that it’s a lost cause," he said. "I think the Momentum people, Corbyn’s pals, have got this party by the throat and they’re never gonna let it go, at least not in my lifetime.

"I think for Jews this is very very difficult, it’s a hard place to be. I’m a fighter, but this is now a lost cause, it’s gone, they’ve won these people, and I think all of us need to be cognisant of this and decide what we’re going to do in the future and I’ve taken my decision.

"Maybe sitting on the crossbench I will be in a better position to fight for the issues I want without being called a traitor."