Villiers speaks out in Parliament against Labour antisemitism

Chipping Barnet MP Theresa Villiers has told Parliament of the dismay expressed to her by constituents about antisemitism in the Labour Party.

Speaking in a debate on antisemitism in modern society last week, Theresa said: “I want to emphasise that antisemitism is completely unacceptable—whether it comes from the hard right or the radical left—and it is utterly unforgivable if it permeates a mainstream political party,” she told MPs

“It is deeply disturbing that concern about problems with antisemitism in Labour are now so worrying to the Jewish community that they felt the need to come to Parliament Square to protest about it. In many conversations I have had on the doorstep in my Chipping Barnet constituency about this issue, a number of constituents have told me that they are making active preparations to leave the country if Labour wins the next general election. That is an appalling and unacceptable state of affairs.”

Theresa said that Labour has even dragged its heels about adopting the internationally recognised definition of antisemitism overseen by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

“What was the cause of that prevarication and foot-dragging?” she asked MPs. “Attempts by the Leader of the Opposition to preserve the right of Labour activists to call Israel ‘a racist endeavour’.”

“The leadership of the Jewish community is clear that much more effective action is needed. The Board of Deputies recently reiterated its disappointment at the lack of leadership on this matter shown by Jeremy Corbyn. Indeed, there are many who doubt the Labour leader’s commitment on this issue.”

Theresa said that it was now three years since Labour pledged to tackle antisemitism within its ranks but little had been done and she added: “The MP for Ilford South, Mike Gapes, said he was sickened that the Labour party had now become a racist, antisemitic party. I believe he was right to be sickened and gravely concerned by what has happened to the official opposition - so, too, am I. So, too, are many of my constituents.”

“That is why decisive action is needed now to put this right, so we can see antisemitism driven out of British politics forever. Enough is enough.”

The Labour Party in Barnet suffered a blow on Friday when one of its local councillors, Jess Brayne, resigned from Labour, stating that it was institutionally antisemitic.