Mon, 15 August 2022

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Commons Diary: Fabian Hamilton

Commons Diary: Fabian Hamilton
4 min read

It's now up to all of us to carry forward the memory of those murdered, so that atrocities like those perpetrated at Auschwitz can never happen again, writes shadow minister for Peace and Disarmament Fabian Hamilton 


Because today marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz – and on Holocaust Memorial Day itself – it’s only right that Parliament strives to lead the commemoration of such a vital moment in the Second World War and the end of Nazism. As public representatives, some of us representing large Jewish communities, as I do in North East Leeds, it is so important that we make clear that, as the Allies proved in 1945, there is no place for antisemitism in our society nor in our world.

Last Thursday I was pleased to speak, alongside colleagues from across the House, in the Holocaust Memorial Day debate which took place in the Commons Chamber. Together with the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Book of Commitment, such a show of unity against extremism, against racism and against violence will, I hope, serve to show those in our country and beyond who hold such vile views that they will not be tolerated, and that they will never have any support from our Parliamentarians.

I also commend those MPs and Peers of Jewish heritage that choose to speak out about their own families’ experiences of the Holocaust – as I have done – and how it has shaped their world today. There’s no doubt that the Holocaust affected every single Jewish family regardless of where they lived and it’s now up to everyone in today’s society, whatever their faith, to carry forward the memory of those murdered so that atrocities like those perpetrated at Auschwitz can never happen again.


Earlier this month, Leeds lost one of its last survivors of the Holocaust. Heinz Skyte died just six weeks before his 100th birthday. Heinz was a truly remarkable man, who fled Nazi Germany in 1938 during Kristallnacht. He saw first-hand many of the Jewish citizens of Hamburg being arrested, beaten and attacked on the streets. He saw the synagogues burning. Whilst thankfully he managed to escape to London, and settle in Leeds a year later, his family and many of his friends were not so fortunate.

Through such valuable organisations, as the Holocaust Exhibition and Learning Centre, which documented Heinz’s story alongside those of other Leeds-based Holocaust survivors, we have a powerful way to educate all future generations on the horrors of antisemitism and Nazism.


Over the past few weeks, I have been delighted to support my friend and colleague Emily Thornberry’s campaign to become the next Leader of the Labour Party. As shadow foreign secretary, and shadow first secretary of state since 2016, she has shown time and time again that she is more than capable of holding Boris Johnson to account in Parliament at the despatch box.

I believe it is absolutely vital the Labour Party elects a leader who will uphold our commitment to human rights, peace and disarmament. These have always been core Labour values and I know that Emily has championed them throughout her 15 years in Parliament.

British democracy depends on a credible opposition to fully and forensically hold the government of the day to account – regardless of which political party happens to be in power. I know Emily is now looking forward to the many rounds of hustings that are taking place over the next few weeks across the whole country.

We are fortunate to have such a talented selection of leadership candidates to choose from in this contest and I’m pleased that all the debates so far have been fruitful and well-tempered. Whatever the outcome, however, Labour must be united in its approach in Parliament and look to promote our values and ideals to the country at a time when leaving the European Union means the most vulnerable in society will face an unprecedented future of uncertainty.




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