Brexit is the key issue in heavily Remain-voting Hampstead and Kilburn

The JC speaks to members of the community in Hampstead and Kilburn, currently a Labour safe seat


Tulip Siddiq has stressed her credentials as an ally of the Jewish community as she battles to retain her Hampstead and Kilburn seat.

Ms Siddiq, who had a 15,000 majority at the last election, faces a challenge from Liberal Democrat candidate Matt Sanders in a seat which voted 76 per cent Remain.

The Labour MP, who was first elected in 2015, admitted that the party’s ongoing antisemitism crisis has highlighted that its disciplinary structures were “not fit for purpose”, adding that “we haven’t been nearly proactive enough in booting out members who are antisemitic”.

But she pointed to her record as a trustee of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust and as vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Antisemitism, saying she is “determined to see this issue resolved”.

Ms Siddiq said: “I have stood up for my Jewish constituents over and over again. I am not one who tries to pretend there hasn’t been a problem. I think it’s something the Labour Party can get right.

“If I didn’t think we could fix the relationship with the Jewish community I would find it hard to ask people to vote for me.

“As someone of Muslim origin, I take the issue of antisemitism to heart. I understand how it feels to feel like the ‘other’. I constantly badger Jeremy Corbyn on antisemitism because I believe we are better than this as a party.

“I am campaigning on the values that drove me to join the Labour Party. That means anti-racism but it also means campaigning for a fairer society.”

In 2017, the Lib Dems finished more than 30,000 votes behind Ms Siddiq in Hampstead and Kilburn but Mr Sanders argued that the Conservatives’ position on Brexit meant that there was “no chance” a split vote would lead to victory for Tory candidate Johnny Luk.

Mr Luk, a former government policy adviser in the Department for Exiting the European Union, campaigned for Remain in the 2016 referendum but said he would vote for the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal if elected to Parliament.

Both candidates condemned the Labour Party’s handling of the antisemitism crisis, with Mr Sanders saying that “it gets right to the heart of my values as a Londoner”.

He said: “Jewish people’s voices on antisemitism are important but that doesn’t make the issue only a Jewish one. Anyone who is a progressive Londoner who values diverse communities should be outraged.”

Mr Luk, a member of the British-Chinese community, told the JC that he “related” to Jews and the “conflation of how you look and your heritage and the politics of another country”.

David Stansell, the Green Party candidate, said he is campaigning on ecological issues affecting Londoners — primarily air quality in the capital — as well as against Brexit.

Jewish residents who spoke to the JC were split between those who will vote for Ms Siddiq, praising her record opposing antisemitism and Brexit, and those who were abandoning the party over antisemitism.

Daniel Kenig, a 37-year-old undecided voter from Belsize Park, said he would “probably” vote for the Liberal Democrats: “Obviously there’s no way any member of the community could even consider voting for [Jeremy Corbyn].”

But Ben Shapiro, from Kilburn, said that Brexit was the “big issue,” adding that he feels “very safe as in the area, as a visibly Jewish person”.

Retired doctor Anthony Isaacs concurred, saying he agreed with Ms Siddiq’s stance on Brexit. The 77-year-old said: “Brexit is very pertinent here, where so many people voted Remain, and Tulip Siddiq has reflected the views of this constituency.”

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