Former MP Andrew Dismore attacked over union ties
A Parliamentary candidate has denied that his links to an anti-Israel trade union are hypocritical.
Andrew Dismore, the former Labour MP for Hendon, has a long-standing association with the Fire Brigades Union, which has repeatedly campaigned for a boycott against Israel.
Currently the London Assembly member for Camden and Barnet, Mr Dismore was until April also a member of the London Fire Authority. He has repeatedly challenged funding cuts to the fire service.
He previously acted as a solicitor for the union, and benefited from FBU donations to Labour election campaigns.
Ahead of the 2009 Trades Union Congress the FBU tabled a resolution calling for a boycott of products from Israeli West Bank settlements, the ending of all arms trading with Israel, and divestment from companies “associated with the occupation” of the Palestinian Territories.
Mr Dismore will contest the Hendon constituency again at the 2015 general election and hopes to win the seat back from Conservative MP Matthew Offord, who beat him by just 106 votes in 2010.
Andrew Boff, leader of the London Assembly’s Conservative group, said Mr Dismore’s criticism of a Transport for London cable car sponsorship deal with Emirates which appeared to discriminate against Israel sent a mixed message given his FBU links.
Mr Boff said: “The FBU has directly stated its anti-Israel stance. Mr Dismore has to say whether he is happy to take their money and then look his voters in the eye. What talks louder, his commitment to Israel, or his financial links with the FBU?”
Mr Dismore said he “profoundly disagreed” with the FBU’s stance on Israel.
“I don’t have anything to do with them on international policy,” he said. “I’ve never discussed Israel with them at all. I’m not an FBU member.
“I personally disagree with any boycotts of Israel. The FBU would not dream of lobbying me on foreign affairs. None of this has ever come up. They are a very professional trade union. It’s a long time since the FBU gave me any money. I’m happy to work with them on stopping cuts to the fire brigades.”
He said that if FBU activists sought his support for a boycott he would give them “short shrift”.
“I travel to Israel and deal with Israelis all the time. My actions speak louder than anything else when it comes to Israel,” said Mr Dismore.