Let Kaufman be the last, say MPs

By Marcus Dysch, April 7, 2011

MPs have urged the Labour Party to tackle the issue of offensive comments made by MPs, following Sir Gerald Kaufman's "the Jews again" comment last week.

John Mann MP, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, has written to Labour leader Ed Miliband, Parliamentary Labour Party chair Tony Lloyd and the party's chief whip to ask what will be done to stop future remarks.

During a parliamentary debate last week, Sir Gerald muttered "here we are, the Jews again" to a backbench colleague as pro-Israel MP Louise Ellman rose to speak.

Having originally said he "could not remember" if he made the comment, Sir Gerald later said: "I regret if any remarks I made in the chamber caused offence. If they did, I apologise."

Officials in Sir Gerald's Manchester Gorton constituency were unconcerned. His election agent, Martin Rathfelder, said: "Nobody in Gorton gives a toss about what Gerald Kaufman said in parliament."

Mr Mann, Labour MP for Bassetlaw, said: "Parliamentarians must set clear lines of acceptable discourse as a marker for the country, and MPs must take responsibility in their own parties for sorting out such issues."

Conservative MP for Hendon, Matthew Offord, who overheard Sir Gerald's comment, raised the issue with Speaker John Bercow.

Last updated: 11:25am, April 7 2011