Labour should be ‘ashamed’ of anti-Semitism, MP says after Louise Ellman resigns

Louise Ellman and Jeremy Corbyn Credit: Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament/Joe Giddens/PA

Labour should be “ashamed” of how it deals with anti-Jewish abuse, a party MP has said following veteran Dame Louise Ellman’s resignation.

Dame Louise, 73, who is Jewish, said she had been “deeply troubled” by the “growth of anti-Semitism” in Labour in recent years.

The Liverpool Riverside MP said she would be leaving the Labour Party after 55 years as a member, adding that leader Jeremy Corbyn is “not fit to stand as our Prime Minister”.

Labour said it would “continue to take robust action to root out anti-Semitism in the party and wider society”.

Stoke-on-Trent North MP Ruth Smeeth said the Labour Party should be “ashamed” that anti-Jewish “hate and abuse” is happening on their watch.

Mrs Smeeth, also a member of Mr Corbyn’s party, called Dame Louise an “inspiration”, and said she had lost an “ally and a friend”.

Posting on Twitter, she added: “There is no excuse, no explanation, no justification for the anti-Jewish hate and abuse that she has suffered.

“The leadership of the Labour Party should be ashamed that this is happening on their watch. I am truly disgusted.”

Dame Louise, an MP since 1997, said she would not join another political party and hoped to return to Labour under a different leadership.

She said: “I have made the truly agonising decision to leave the Labour Party after 55 years.

“I can no longer advocate voting Labour when it risks Corbyn becoming PM.

“I believe that Jeremy Corbyn is not fit to serve as our Prime Minister. With a looming general election and the possibility of him becoming Prime Minister, I feel I have to take a stand.”

The MP had been due this week to face so-called “trigger” ballots which had the potential to lead to her deselection as a candidate at the next election.

On anti-Semitism, she added: “Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, anti-Semitism has become mainstream in the Labour Party. Jewish members have been bullied, abused and driven out.

“The Labour Party is no longer a safe place for Jews and Jeremy Corbyn must bear the responsibility for this.”

Dame Louise’s resignation follows that of Liverpool Wavertree MP Luciana Berger who left the party earlier this year in protest over its handling of anti-Semitism allegations.

Mike Katz, chairman of the Jewish Labour Movement, claimed Dame Louise has been “bullied and hounded out of her party”.

“She’s the second female Jewish MP to be hounded out of the Labour Party.

“What clearer signal can there be that, as Dame Louise says, Labour is currently not a safe space for Jews.

“This is a day of great shame for the Labour Party.”

Labour MP Stella Creasy said she was “ashamed” that Dame Louise felt the need to resign.

She told the BBC: “I’m gutted. It is heartbreaking for me.

“To be in a position where yet again another female Jewish MP feels no longer welcome in the Labour Party shames us all.”

Labour former deputy leader Harriet Harman described the resignation of Dame Louise as “very sad news”.

She tweeted: “Thank you, Louise, for your terrific contribution to Parliament, politics and the Labour Party!”

Former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron tweeted: “I’ve known Louise for 30 years.

“If there’s no place for Louise Ellman in the 2019 Labour Party, they are finished as a serious force.”