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October 2, 2019 4:16 pm

Local UK Labour Party Branch Planning No-Confidence Vote Against Jewish MP on Eve of Yom Kippur

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

MP Louise Ellman speaking at the House of Commons on Jan. 8, 2019. Photo: Screenshot.

A local UK Labour party branch is planning a no-confidence vote against a Jewish MP on the eve of Yom Kippur.

Dame Louise Ellman, the Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside, who is Jewish, has been active in Jewish Labour groups and critical of antisemitism in her party.

Labour has been beset by series of antisemitism scandals since Jeremy Corbyn became its leader in 2015.

Ellman has held leadership positions in the Labour Friends of Israel and the Jewish Labour Movement, and is currently vice president of the Jewish Leadership Council.

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The proposed motion by the St. Michael’s Labour branch states, “This Branch is fully behind Jeremy Corbyn,” and cites a statement by Ellman in which she said that she understood “why Jews would seriously consider leaving Britain if Corbyn became PM.”

As a result of her statement, says the motion, “We have no confidence that our MP Louise Ellman will carry out the wishes of our [Constituency Labour Party] and the Riverside constituency, or that she will follow Labour Party policy.”

“This Branch therefore calls on our Riverside MP, Louise Ellman, to resign,” the motion concludes.

The motion will be taken up at a meeting to be held at 8 p.m. next Tuesday, which is the eve of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year.

Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, stated, “That a Jewish MP should be threatened with a vote of no confidence tabled for Yom Kippur — the holiest day in the Jewish calendar when she has no opportunity even to respond — ought to be a source of deep shame for the Labour Party.”

Referring to an investigation into antisemitism in the Labour party by the UK’s Equality and Human Rights Commission, Van der Zyl said, “That Labour shelters antisemites while attacking anti-racism campaigners is why the EHRC is investigating a political party for the first time since it looked into the activities of the BNP.”

“Louise Ellman has fought bravely against antisemitism in her own party, and she should be applauded, not vilified,” she added.

Rachel Riley, a television personality and activist who has been outspoken on the issue of Labour antisemitism, tweeted, “Corbyn’s Labour trying to purge ***yet another Jewish woman*** from the party (she’s been a member for 56 years, an elected representative for 50).”

“And on Yom Kippur, the most solemn day of the Jewish calendar when she’ll have no right of reply. Disgrace,” said Riley.

Fiona Sharpe, spokesperson for the group Labour Against Antisemitism, also commented, saying, “Once again, a Jewish woman MP in the Labour Party — this time Dame Louise Ellman — faces bullying and intimidation from her local members.”

“And nothing seems to highlight the complete disdain and disrespect that the Labour Party apparently feels it is acceptable to demonstrate towards the Jewish community more than their decision to schedule the vote of no confidence in Dame Louise Ellman on Kol Nidre, our holiest day,” added Sharpe.

“The decision to table the motion on this date is, in our opinion, insensitive, outrageous and provocative, and only underlines the depth of institutional racism that now appears prevalent across the Labour movement,” she went on to say.

The group Scottish Labour Against Antisemitism tweeted of Ellman, “She has been a member for 56 years and faces action from her CLP for saying she ‘understands why Jews would seriously consider leaving Britain if Corbyn became PM.’ Head in hands.”

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