British stock market rebounds over decisive Conservative victory
search
Live updates (closed)

UK chief rabbi: Election is over but concerns over anti-Semitism, racism remain

Israeli politicians praise defeat of opposition leader who failed to deal with anti-Semitism in party; Johnson vows to get Brexit done; EU ready to discuss ‘close’ future with UK

  • British opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks during the declaration of his seat in the 2019 general election in Islington, London, Dec. 13, 2019 (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
    British opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks during the declaration of his seat in the 2019 general election in Islington, London, Dec. 13, 2019 (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
  • Britain's Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson leaves Conservative Party headquarters with his partner Carrie Symonds and their dog Dilyn, in London, Dec. 13, 2019 (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
    Britain's Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson leaves Conservative Party headquarters with his partner Carrie Symonds and their dog Dilyn, in London, Dec. 13, 2019 (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
  • Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson, second right, reacts as she loses her East Dumbartonshire constituency, during the count at the Leisuredome, Bishopbriggs, Scotland, December 13, 2019.  (Jane Barlow/PA via AP)
    Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson, second right, reacts as she loses her East Dumbartonshire constituency, during the count at the Leisuredome, Bishopbriggs, Scotland, December 13, 2019. (Jane Barlow/PA via AP)
  • Britain's Prime Minister and Conservative leader Boris Johnson gives a speech on stage after retaining his seat to be MP for Uxbridge and Ruislip South, on December 13, 2019 (Oli SCARFF/AFP)
    Britain's Prime Minister and Conservative leader Boris Johnson gives a speech on stage after retaining his seat to be MP for Uxbridge and Ruislip South, on December 13, 2019 (Oli SCARFF/AFP)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Friday’s events as they unfolded.

Labour defector Luciana Berger fails to win UK Parliament seat

Luciana Berger fails to win a UK Parliament seat in the heavily Jewish Finchley and Golders Green district, continuing a trend in which virtually all lawmakers who defected from the Labour Party failed to win seats in the British elections, according to UK media.

Berger, who left the Labour Party over issues related to anti-Semitism, loses to the sitting Conservative MP Mike Freer.

Freer wins with 24,162 votes with Berger taking 17,600, a rise of 25.3% for the Liberal Democrats.

In his victory speech, Freer pays tribute to his opponent and “the very difficult decision” she took to leave the Labour party and her safe seat.

Lapid congratulates Johnson on election win

Blue and White No. 2 Yair Lapid congratulates Boris Johnson on his election victory.

“I congratulate my friend Boris Johnson on his election victory. His victory is a defeat for anti-Semitism. I’m sure that under his leadership we can strengthen and deepen the relations between Israel and Great Britain. Congratulations Boris and good luck.”

Lapid on Monday called UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn a racist and anti-Semite.

“The experts on anti-Semitism are Jews. We can tell an anti-Semite when we see one,” said Lapid, who is the centrist Blue and White list’s designated candidate for foreign minister.

Foreign Minister Katz sends message of congratulations to Johnson, Raab

Foreign Minister Israel Katz congratulates UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on the Conservative Party’s victory in the election.

“Congratulations to PM Boris Johnson & and my colleague Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on their historic electoral victory. Looking forward to working together to strengthening even further the Israel/UK partnership.”

Raab clings onto his seat despite a Liberal Democrat surge in his constituency due to what was thought to be tactical voting.

The UK’s top diplomat, Raab, has a Jewish father and reportedly spent the summer of 1998 at a university near Ramallah and worked with former Palestinian negotiator of Oslo peace process.

Trump tweets that seems close ally Johnson will have a big victory

US President Donald Trump tweets that it seems that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will secure a large victory in the UK election.

“Looking like a big win for Boris in the UK!” tweets Trump, who has a close relationship with his British counterpart.

Jewish Labour MP Ruth Smeeth loses seat, blames Corbyn’s actions on anti-Semitism

Jewish Labour MP Ruth Smeeth loses her Stoke-on-Trent North seat and blames leader Jeremy Corbyn for her party’s defeat in the UK election.

“This is an appalling, heartbreaking night for the Labour Party. He should have gone many, many, many months ago,” she tells Sky News.

“Jeremy Corbyn’s actions on anti-Semitism have made us the nasty party. We are the racist party.”

Jewish Labour MP Ruth Smeeth. (UK Parliament)

Smeeth was elected to the seat in 2015; it has been held by Labour since its creation in 1950.

A member of Labor Friends of Israel, Smeeth was elected Parliamentary Chair of the Jewish Labour Movement in April this year.

Jo Swinson steps down as Liberal Democrat leader after losing seat

Jo Swinson, the leader of the anti-Brexit Liberal Democrats, steps down as head of her party after a disappointing show, and losing her seat in the UK election.

Swinson was defeated by a candidate from the Scottish National Party (SNP).

Ed Davey MP and Sal Brinton are to take over as joint acting leaders of the party, the Guardian reports, with a leadership vote planned for next year.

“I am proud that in this campaign, the Liberal Democrats have stood up for openness, generosity and hope. We were honest about what we believe in and what we were trying to achieve,” Swinson says.

Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson, second right, reacts as she loses her East Dumbartonshire constituency, during the count at the Leisuredome, Bishopbriggs, Scotland, Friday Dec. 13, 2019. (Jane Barlow/PA via AP)

UK minister to Jewish community: ‘You should never have to live in fear again’

British minister Michael Gove gives speech to Conservative Party victory rally and says the Jewish community should “never have to live in fear again.”

“I also want to say something to a very special group of people, our Jewish friends and neighbors,” Gove says.

“You have had to live in fear for months now with concerns we will have a prime minister who trafficked in anti-Jewish rhetoric and embraced anti-Jewish terrorists. You should never have to live in fear again.”

“Today we celebrate a victory for the British people. They comprehensively rejected Jeremy Corbyn’s politics,” Gove says.

Record number of women to serve as lawmakers in British parliament

A record number of women MPs will serve in the new UK parliament, the BBC reports.

With some seats still to declare, the British broadcaster says there will be 104 women serving as MPs for the Labour Party, and 86 women will represent constituencies for the Conservative Party.

Jewish Agency’s Herzog praises Johnson’s determination to fight anti-Semitism

Jewish Agency head Isaac Herzog sends his congratulations to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the election victory, praises the UK leader’s fight against anti-Semitism.

“Big Mazal Tov and congrats to Boris Johnson on this remarkable victory! His determination to fight anti-Semitism, as displayed in his recent letter to me and by his actions, is a source of hope for UK’s citizens and friends, Jews and non-Jews. Best of luck Mr. Prime Minister,” Herzog tweets.

Earlier this year, Herzog wrote to European leaders about his concerns over the rise of anti-Semitism in the wake of the Halle synagogue attack in Germany.

Victorious Johnson says will ‘get Brexit done on time’

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says the largest Conservative majority since the 1980s shows that getting Brexit done has now proved to be the will of the British people.

In a jubilant speech to party supporters, Johnson stresses that Britain will leave the European Union by Jan. 31.

“We will get Brexit done on time by Jan 31,” he says. “No ifs, no buts, no maybes.”

Johnson also says that his government has to represent all corners of the United Kingdom. The Conservatives won a number of seats that had voted for the main opposition Labour Party for decades.

— AP

Deputy FM congratulates Johnson, says UK-Israel cooperation will continue

Deputy FM Tzipi Hotovely congratulates British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the British Conservative Party’s election victory.

“I congratulate Boris Johnson on the big victory in the election. Johnson is a great friend of the State of Israel. The close relationship and great cooperation on economic and security matters will continue to strengthen,” Hotovely tweets in Hebrew.

British stock market rebounds over decisive Conservative victory

The British stock market rebounds, reversing initial losses as traders welcome a decisive election win for Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

At 0810 GMT, London’s FTSE 100 shares index jumped 0.96 percent to 7,343.40 points, reversing an opening loss of 0.6 percent.

Eurozone equities also soared on reports China and the US had reached a trade agreement.

— AFP

Netanyahu congratulates ‘friend’ Johnson for his ‘historic victory’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweets that the Conservative Party’s victory in the election is a “great day” for the British people and for the relationship between the UK and Israel.

“Congratulations my friend Boris Johnson on your historic victory. This is a great day for the people of Great Britain and for the friendship between us,” the prime minister tweets with a photo of the two leaders shaking hands in London.

New Zealand recovers 6 bodies from toxic volcanic island

New Zealand military specialists wearing protective gear land on a small volcanic island and recover six bodies out of the 16 people who died in an eruption four days earlier.

The specialists — six men and two women wearing hooded protective suits and using breathing gear — land by helicopter on White Island and found six of the eight bodies thought to be there.

“We know that reunification won’t ease that sense of loss or grief because I don’t think anything can. But we felt an enormous duty of care as New Zealanders to make sure that we brought their family members back,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says at a news conference.

— AP

EU ready to discuss ‘close’ future with UK

EU leaders are gathering to discuss Britain’s departure from the bloc amid some relief that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has a clear majority in Parliament to drive his Brexit divorce deal through.

Britain is due to leave the EU by Jan. 31 and talks can then commence over the future trading arrangements. After Brexit, Britain will remain in the EU’s tariff-free single market until the end of 2020.

After congratulating Johnson on his victory, new EU Council President Charles Michel says that “we expect as soon as possible the vote by the British parliament on the withdrawal agreement.”

Regarding the future relationship, Michel said the EU is ready to negotiate “close cooperation in the future with the UK.”

— AP

Knesset speaker: Johnson’s victory is ‘glorious defeat for anti-Semitic Corbyn’

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein welcomes British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s win in the UK election, and says it is a loss for those who hate Israel.

“A huge victory for Israel’s friend Boris Johnson in the UK. A glorious defeat for his anti-Semitic rival Corbyn and haters of Israel. This is very important to the State of Israel. I congratulate Mr. Johnson and I am sure he will continue to succeed,” Edelstein tweets.

Rivlin adds his congratulations to chorus of Israeli praise for Johnson victory

President Reuven Rivlin congratulates British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on his election victory.

“Congratulations to my friend Boris Johnson! On behalf of the Israeli people, and personally, I wish you great success as you continue to serve as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom,” Rivlin says in a statement.

“I am confident that under your leadership the important relationship between the two countries will continue to strengthen and that together we will be able to face the challenges of our times on every front,” Rivlin says.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson plays football with President Reuven Rivlin on November 10, 2015 (Mark Neiman/ GPO)

Hodge: I’m ‘last one standing’ of Jewish female Labour MPs who took on party

Dame Margaret Hodge, who won re-election in her Barking seat, says she is the only one remaining of the four Jewish women who served as Labour lawmakers and took on the party leadership over anti-Semitism.

“A year ago I was one of four strong, hardworking Jewish women serving in the Labour Party as MPs,” she says, according to the Jewish Chronicle.

“Today as I wake up, I’m the last one standing. Two were driven out of the party,” she says, referring to Luciana Berger and Louise Ellman who both quit the party over anti-Semitism. “The third one, Ruth Smeeth, who has fought valiantly, lost her seat last night.

“And I think that in itself says a lot about what the party felt in relation to its attitude to Jews and therefore the nastiness which the party has become,” Hodge says.

Feiglin announces Zehut won’t run in March elections

Moshe Feiglin announces that his Zehut party won’t run in the March elections, the third time Israelis will go to the polls within a year.

However Feiglin vows that the party will return to politics when Israeli society “matures for change.”

Zehut advocates a far-right nationalism combined with small-government libertarianism, and has drawn support from an eclectic mix of voters ranging from far-right settlement yeshiva students to pot legalization advocates in left-leaning Tel Aviv.

It advocates annexing the West Bank and retaking Gaza, alongside the virtual dismantling of the state rabbinate and other Orthodox-controlled state religious services, and the total legalization of pot, including for recreational use.

SNP head: I have strengthened mandate to push for vote on Scottish independence

The leader of the Scottish National Party says her party’s gains in the British election give her a “renewed, refreshed, strengthened mandate” to push for a new referendum on Scottish independence.

Nicola Sturgeon tells the BBC that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has “no right” to take Scotland out of the European Union. Scotland voted overwhelmingly against Brexit in the 2016 referendum.

Sturgeon says Johnson can’t block the Scottish people from “choosing their own future.” She concedes that Johnson now has “a mandate to take England out of the EU but he must accept that I have a mandate to give Scotland a choice for an alternative future.”

Scotland voted against independence five years ago in what was billed as a once-in-a-generation referendum.

— AP

Kremlin says doubts Johnson win will improve Russia’s ties with UK

The Kremlin says that Moscow always hopes an election brings to power voices in favor of “good relations” with Russia but was not sure that would be the case with Britain’s Conservatives.

“I don’t know to what extent such expectations are appropriate in the case of the Conservatives,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov tells journalists in reaction to Boris Johnson’s election victory.

— AFP

British PM Johnson arrives at Buckingham Palace after election win

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives at Buckingham Palace to meet Queen Elizabeth II, where she will formally ask him to form a government following his thumping election victory.

With all but one result declared for the 650-seat parliament, Johnson’s Conservative party has secured 364 seats — its biggest majority since the heyday of Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s.

— AFP

Britain’s Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in central London on December 13, 2019, for an audience with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace (DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP)

Jewish Labour Movement blames party leadership for loss, laments defeat of chair Smeeth

The Jewish Labour Movement issues a statement blaming the party’s leadership for the landslide Conservative victory in the British election.

“Labour’s failure in this election lies squarely with the Party’s leadership. Because of the public’s rejection of Corbyn as Prime Minister, the confused position on Brexit, or its total failure to tackle anti-Jewish racism, the Party must truly listen,” the statement reads.

“We are distraught that our courageous Parliamentary Chair, Ruth Smeeth, was not re-elected. Ruth has represented the best of Labour over these past few years — unafraid and determined to hold the Party’s leadership accountable for their failure to tackle antisemitism despite the abuse she’s faced. Her loss to the Parliamentary Labour Party will be felt by the entire Labour movement.”

Smeeth was elected to the Stoke-on-Trent North seat in 2015; it has been held by Labour since its creation in 1950.

A member of Labour Friends of Israel, Smeeth was elected Parliamentary Chair of the Jewish Labour Movement in April this year.

UK chief rabbi: Election is over but worries over anti-Semitism, racism remain

British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, who last month took an unprecedented stand against the Labour party, says that although the election is over, there are still many challenges that must be faced, including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

“The election may be over, but concerns about the resurgence of anti-Semitism very much remain,” Mirvis says in a statement.

“Islamophobia, racism and other forms of prejudice continue to afflict our communities and, as has been well publicized, even our political parties,” Mirvis says. “It is vital that we now bring the country together, ensuring that the voices of people from across our society are heard and respected. We must focus on our shared values and leave all hatred and prejudice far behind us.”

In a column published last month, Mirvis said he was compelled to intervene in politics because Britain’s Jews were “gripped by anxiety” over the future of the community and of Judaism in the country amid the prospect of a Labour win.

Without explicitly calling on people not to vote for Labour, or even mentioning Corbyn by name, Mirvis warned that “a new poison – sanctioned from the top – has taken root in the Labour Party.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose Conservative Party beat Corbyn’s Labour in a landslide victory, has in the past been accused of Islamophobia, including saying that burqa-wearing women looked like “letter boxes.”

Illustrative: Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis gives a speech as he attends a Holocaust Memorial Day Ceremony at Central Hall Westminster, January 27, 2015. (AP/Chris Jackson)

British Jewish leader: ‘History won’t look kindly on Corbyn’s Labour leadership’

Board of Deputies of British Jews President Marie van der Zyl says in a statement that “anti-Jewish racism has been allowed to run amok” in the Labour Party and that she hopes Prime Minister Boris Johnson will use his victory to bring the party together.

“When he eventually steps back, history will not look kindly on Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party, where anti-Jewish racism has been allowed to run amok and some at the highest levels of the party have appeared to collude to protect anti-Semites,” van der Zyl says.

“We urge the next leader of the Labour Party to act quickly to implement the steps repeatedly recommended by Jewish communal groups to begin solving this crisis and moving our politics forward,” she says.

Illustrative: Marie van der Zyl joins demonstrators at March’s ‘Enough is Enough’ protest at the UK Parliament. (Courtesy)

European Commission says timeframe for making post-Brexit deal is ‘challenging’

The head of the European Commission says the one-year timeframe for striking a post-Brexit trade deal with Britain is “challenging” but wants the new relationship to be “as close as possible.”

Ursula von der Leyen tells reporters in Brussels on Friday that the EU expects Britain to leave the European Union on Jan. 31.

After the victory of Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party in the British election, von der Leyen said, “We are ready to move to the next phase.”

Leaders of the remaining 27 EU member states discussed next steps at their summit Friday.

— AP

Corbyn says he will stand down ‘in the early part of next year’

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says he won’t stand down immediately after results confirm his party lost the UK election by a landslide.

“The National Executive will have to meet, of course, in the very near future and it is up to them. It will be in the early part of next year,” Corbyn tells reporters in his Islington constituency.

Corbyn is resisting calls for him to step down immediately as head of the Labour Party, but earlier in the morning said he would resign sometime before the UK’s next election.

The comments come as critics blame his hard-left stances, mismanagement of the party and inability to deal with an anti-Semitism crisis, for turning voters off.

read more:
comments
Live updates (closed)

British stock market rebounds over decisive Conservative victory

The British stock market rebounds, reversing initial losses as traders welcome a decisive election win for Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

At 0810 GMT, London’s FTSE 100 shares index jumped 0.96 percent to 7,343.40 points, reversing an opening loss of 0.6 percent.

Eurozone equities also soared on reports China and the US had reached a trade agreement.

— AFP