Labour MP who attended anti-Semitism demo 'run out' of local party meeting

Posted On: 
6th April 2018

A Labour MP who was one of dozens to attend a demonstration against anti-Semitism in the party was forced to flee a meeting after being criticised by activists in her constituency.

Thangam Debonnaire has a majority of more than 37,000 in Bristol West.
PA Images

Thangam Debonnaire was heckled by Labour members at a packed meeting in Bristol West at which a motion criticising the demo was narrowly defeated.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council organised the protest, which was held outside Parliament on 26 March, over concerns at how Jeremy Corbyn has handled claims of anti-Semitism against Labour members.

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More than 40 Labour MPs attended the event, including Ms Debonnaire, who was re-elected MP for Bristol West last year with a majority of 37,336.

Last night's meeting of local party members voted 108-84 against a motion which pointed out the demonstration was also attended by some Conservative and DUP MPs, as well as Tory peer Norman Tebbit.

It also said that "when people see inequality, ecological disaster and war alongside the accumulation of unprecedented wealth, in the private hands of a few, it is reasonable that they seek out explanations".

The motion added that "portions of the media and politicians hostile to the Labour party have weaponised recent allegations into unfair criticisms of the Labour party and Jeremy Corbyn".

Elsewhere, it called for the Bristol West Labour branch should affiliate and donate £150 to Jewish Voice for Labour, which organised a counter-demonstration to the Board of Deputies and JLC one, claiming the anti-Semitism row was being used to attack Mr Corbyn.

A separate motion directly criticising Ms Debonnaire for being at the demonstration was "noted" but not voted on.

Some of those present at last night's meeting said the MP was left visibly upset as she was heckled by Labour activists.

Holly Jones, secretary Bristol Young Labour, tweeted: "Absolutely disgusting that a Labour MP is run out of a meeting by a heckling group of cranks. Members showed no respect while she was answering questions and tried to get a rise out of her the whole meeting."

Ms Debonnaire was backed by a number of Labour MPs on Twitter.