Jewish group passes vote of no confidence in Corbyn

The Jewish Labour Movement has said it has no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership following the anti-Semitism rows in the party.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

The no confidence vote was passed “overwhelmingly” at JLM’s annual general meeting yesterday.

A motion noting the “crisis of anti-Semitism” within Labour since Mr Corbyn’s election as leader was passed “almost unanimously”.

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

The group said there were “strong speeches” from Labour MPs Dame Margaret Hodge, Ruth Smeeth and Louise Ellman at the event at a north London synagogue.

The no confidence motion was passed despite a plea from shadow attorney general Baroness Chakrabarti not to “personalise” the issue by focusing on Mr Corbyn because he “won’t be leader forever”.

She said: “My plea to the Jewish Labour Movement is to stay in the Labour movement and to tackle racism together, not to personalise it and make it about Jeremy Corbyn, because he is one person and he won’t be leader forever.”

The JLM met after Labour again found itself embroiled in a row over its handling of anti-Semitism complaints. The Sunday Times said it had seen leaked internal documents which showed the party’s system for dealing with complaints had been beset by delays, inaction and interference from the leader’s office.

Some members investigated for posting comments online such as “Heil Hitler” and “Jews are the problem” had not been expelled despite complaints being made a year ago, while Mr Corbyn’s office had been involved in approving, delaying or blocking at least 101 complaints, the paper reported.

But Labour claimed lines from internal emails had been “selectively leaked” to “misrepresent their overall contents”, adding that it was “committed” to rooting out anti-Semitism in the party.

The hard drive of emails and a confidential database last updated on 8 March also reportedly showed that a trade union official was readmitted after being accused of sharing material saying “Jewish Israelis” were behind 9/11.

In another case, a Labour official ruled a council candidate accused of describing Jewish MPs as “Zionist infiltrators” met the threshold for suspension but then ruled he should not be suspended as he “is a candidate”, the paper said.

It reported that 454 of 863 complaints were unresolved, including 249 where the party had not started an investigation, and that, of 409 cases where a decision was reached, 191 members faced no further action, 145 received a formal warning and fewer than 30 were expelled.

Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: “Rather than own up to the problem, the Labour leadership has put its efforts into a cover-up operation. Any claims to a politically independent system can now be seen as a total sham.”

Labour said the figures quoted in the story were “not accurate”. Lady Chakrabarti, who led a review into anti-Semitism allegations in the party, told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “There is no interference from Jeremy Corbyn or his staff in the disciplinary process.”