Theresa May picks Labour MP to tackle ‘bitter scourge of antisemitism’

Labour MP John Mann speaking during a protest against anti-Semitism in the Labour party in Parliament Square last year. Picture: PA
Labour MP John Mann speaking during a protest against anti-Semitism in the Labour party in Parliament Square last year. Picture: PA
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Prime Minister Theresa May has appointed Labour MP John Mann as an independent adviser on antisemitism.

The role will see Mr Mann, who is chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on antisemitism, provide independent advice on how to tackle the issue, Downing Street said.

Mrs May said: “Anti-semitism is racism.

“It has absolutely no place in our society and we must fight its bitter scourge wherever it rears its head.

“John Mann is, without exception, a key voice on this matter.

“He has frequently campaigned in the House of Commons on this issue and has tirelessly used his role as a politician to speak out on behalf of victims of anti-Jewish racism.

“I am confident he will bring the level of cross-party independent advice needed to advise government and to ensure we see progress on this very important issue.”

Mr Mann, the MP for Bassetlaw, said: “If we stay silent on the issue of antisemitism, we unwittingly allow cowardice and bigotry to speak its own repulsive language.

“I will continue to call out those throwing stones of hatred at Jewish people and will endeavour to give a clarion call to government on prejudice and discrimination on this issue.”

Downing Street said Mr Mann would be responsible for providing the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government with independent advice on the most effective methods to tackle antisemitism.

He will also collaborate with Lord Pickles, the UK’s special envoy for post-Holocaust issues, as well as Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the special envoy for freedom of religion and belief, “to ensure a consistent approach”.

The Labour party has been rocked in recent years with claims by some of its MPs that the leadership is not tackling antisemitism vigorously enough.

The Tories have also been accused by some of not dealing with allegations of Islamophobia within the party in a robust enough way.

An independent adviser has been separately appointed by the UK government to propose a definition of Islamophobia.

Imam Qari Asim, deputy chairman of the Anti-Muslim Hatred Working Group, will carry out the task, communities secretary James Brokenshire said yesterday.