Jewish MP’s split from Labour its ‘worst day of shame,’ deputy party head says
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Jewish MP’s split from Labour its ‘worst day of shame,’ deputy party head says

Luciana Berger’s departure marks low point in Labour’s 120-year history, Tom Watson says, while vowing to ‘root out’ anti-Semitism

Independent MP Luciana Berger leaves Milbank Studios near Parliament in London on February 21, 2019. (Tolga Akmen/AFP)
Independent MP Luciana Berger leaves Milbank Studios near Parliament in London on February 21, 2019. (Tolga Akmen/AFP)

The resignation of UK Labour’s most prominent Jewish MP over claims of anti-Semitism within its ranks was the party’s “worst day of shame” in its history, said deputy party leader Tom Watson on Thursday.

Berger left the party last month with six other lawmakers, calling Labour “institutionally anti-Semitic” and criticizing its support for Brexit.

“I am leaving behind a culture of bullying, bigotry and intimidation,” Berger said at the time.

“When Luciana Berger left the Labour Party, I thought it was the worst day of shame in the Labour party’s 120-year history. A pregnant young MP bullied out of her own party by racist thugs,” Watson told the BBC.

“I am going to speak out on anti-Semitism for as long as it takes to root it out and deal with it,” he said.

Watson was requesting a meeting with party head Jeremy Corbyn to discuss anti-Semitism, the BBC wrote.

The deputy head of British Labour Party, Tom Watson, sits in the audience ahead of the Labour leadership announcement at a party conference in Liverpool on September 24, 2016. (AFP/Oli Scarff)

Earlier in February, Berger faced a no confidence vote by local party members for her criticism of Corbyn and anti-Semitism on the party.

Her break from Labour and the formation of the new centrist movement, called the Independent Group, marked the biggest split in the party since 1981.

On Wednesday, Labour MP Chris Williamson came under fire after footage emerged of him telling activists that the party had been too apologetic over accusations of anti-Semitism and was being “demonized.”

Williamson’s comments came as Labour lawmakers reportedly flagged social media posts from members accusing Jews of murdering children and questioning whether Jewish parliamentarians have “human blood.”

The fresh controversy followed countless recent revelations involving the embattled Labour Party which has been rocked by charges of anti-Semitism in its ranks since the hard-left Corbyn became its head in 2015, with Corbyn himself also facing such accusations — which he has denied.

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