‘Institutionally Antisemitic’: Three Labour Lords Resign Whip over Antisemitism

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 26: Protesters hold placards as they demonstrate in Parliament Square against anti-Semitism in the Labour Party on March 26, 2018 in London, England. The Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council have drawn up a letter accusing Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn of …
Jack Taylor/Getty

Three members of the House of Lords have resigned the party whip over Labour’s ongoing antisemitism scandals, BBC Newsnight revealed.

Former general secretary of the Labour Party Lord Triesman has resigned the whip, writing in his resignation that Labour was “plainly institutionally antisemitic” and that the party was no longer “a safe environment” for Jewish people.

The peer then accused party leader Jeremy Corbyn of antisemitism, saying he “and his circle are antisemitic, having never once made the right judgement call about an issue reflecting deep prejudice”.

The attack was the strongest since Dame Margaret Hodge MP called Corbyn an “antisemite and a racist” last year.

Lord Triesman also accused the parting of “shield[ing]” antisemites, while “serious party members are thrown out unceremoniously”.

Former health minister Lord Darzi, a descendant of survivors of the Armenian genocide, said that he will now sit in the upper chamber as an independent. Having a “zero tolerance to antisemitism”, he said his decision “has not been lightly taken”.

While Lord Turnberg, who also resigned the whip, said he feared “for the future” of the Labour Party, telling Newsnight his disputes “lie with the party leadership and machine and not with my very supportive colleagues in the Lords who share my values”.

A spokesman for the Labour Party responded to the comments and resignations, saying: “We completely reject these false and offensive claims. The Labour Party at all levels is implacably opposed to antisemitism and is determined to root out this social cancer from our movement and society.

“Labour is taking decisive action against antisemitism, doubling the number of staff dedicated to dealing with complaints and cases. And since Jennie Formby became general secretary, the rate at which antisemitism cases have been dealt with has increased four-fold.

“Our records show that antisemitism cases that have gone through the stages of our disciplinary procedures since September 2015 account for about 0.06% of the party’s membership. This represents a tiny minority, but one antisemite is one too many, and we will continue to act against this repugnant form of racism.”

The party has come under recent criticism for allowing MP Chris Williamson back into the party, after suspending him for comments relating to antisemitism in Labour, with a panel meeting on Tuesday to discuss his suspension.

It is the largest resignation of politicians from the party since February when nine MPs resigned over Corbyn’s handling of Brexit and the antisemitism accusations.

In May, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) announced it had launched an investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.