Jewish MP who criticized Corbyn faces Labour no confidence motion on Yom Kippur

Debate calling for Louise Ellman’s resignation scheduled for eve of holy day; Jewish Labour Movement: Timing is ‘truly despicable; party is institutionally racist toward Jews’

Louise Ellman resigned from the Labour party due to what she described as systemic anti-Semitism within the party. (Courtesy)
Louise Ellman resigned from the Labour party due to what she described as systemic anti-Semitism within the party. (Courtesy)

A local British Labour Party branch will hold a debate calling for the resignation of a senior Jewish MP on the eve of Yom Kippur, the Jewish Chronicle reported Wednesday.

Dame Louise Ellman, who has been a prominent critic of leader Jeremy Corbyn and the party’s handling of anti-Semitism allegations, faces a motion calling for her resignation from local party members in Liverpool.

The St Michael’s Labour branch will debate the motion next Tuesday evening. It cites Ellman’s statement last month that she “understands why Jews would seriously consider leaving Britain if Corbyn became PM.”

According to the Jewish Chronicle, the motion states: “We have no confidence that our MP Louise Ellman will carry out the wishes of our CLP and our Riverside constituency or that she will follow Labour Party policy.” The motion then goes on to call for Ellman’s resignation.

British Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl (Courtesy)

Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl responded to the motion, telling the newspaper: “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.”

The Jewish Labour Movement also issued a statement, saying: “Scheduling a vote of no confidence in Louise Ellman on Kol Nidre, the most sacred night of the Jewish calendar, is truly despicable. This is racially motivated targeting and bullying of a Jewish MP — a perfect example of how the Party is institutionally racist towards Jews.”

Ellman’s no confidence debate comes just days after a local London party branch decided Dame Margaret Hodge, a veteran Jewish lawmaker in the Labour Party who last year called Corbyn an anti-Semite, will have to run in a local primary to keep her seat after losing a key party vote. Ellman, 73, has been the MP for Liverpool Riverside since 1997.

Hodge, who has served as MP for Barking in London since 1994, will face a reselection vote, her local constituency party decided.

Margaret Hodge speaks during the Jewish Labour Movement Conference in London, September 2, 2018. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images/via JTA)

“I am obviously disappointed. My priority remains serving the people of Barking as I have done for the last 25 years,” Hodge told the Huffington Post. “At a vital time for the country, with a general election looming, we should be focusing our efforts on holding Boris Johnson and the Tories to account.”

According to the Guardian, new rules in the Labour party mean a reselection contest can be triggered if a third of local party members vote in favor.

Reselection allows parties to replace MPs by opening the door for other party members to run for the seat in a primary election. Labour has been accused of using the procedure to purge anti-Corbyn elements from within its ranks.

The leader of Britain’s opposition Labour party Jeremy Corbyn makes a speech on stage during a rally, as people gathered at Whitehall in London to demonstrate against the state visit of US President Donald Trump, June 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Corbyn has come under prolonged attack — including from within Labour — for allegedly allowing anti-Semitism to spread in the party and for initially refusing to adopt fully the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism in its code of conduct.

Labour has grappled with anti-Semitism accusations since its far-left leader Corbyn was elected party chief in 2015. Fresh scrutiny arose this year after a BBC program in which a number of former party officials accused him and his allies of interfering in efforts to address the issue.

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