'Deeply unpleasant' Chingford Labour meeting includes open attack on Starmer and claim antisemitism had been 'weaponised'

Chingford and Woodford Green CLP chair also accuses the current Labour leader of ‘collusion' with the Tory Party


A meeting of Chingford and Woodford Green Labour Party was described as “deeply unpleasant” after both the chair and the vice-chair gave  speeches in which they openly criticised Sir Keir Starmer and General Secretary David Evans over their response to the damning report into antisemitism.

Multiple sources confirmed to the JC that chair Gary Lefley had used Monday evening’s meeting to praise former leader Jeremy Corbyn – while accusing Sir Keir of being “in breach” of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report by removing the whip from him.

Mr Lefley, a retired head teacher and former general secretary of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, also accused the current Labour leader of “collusion" with the Tory Party.

Addressing the meeting he said: “Keir Starmer decided this was the moment to suspend the former leader of the party and expel him from the PLP (parliamentary Labour Party).

“In doing so it is Keir Starmer, not Jeremy Corbyn, who is in breach of party rules… It is Starmer, not Corbyn who is in breach of the Human Rights Act of 1998.

“It is Starmer, not Corbyn, who is breach of the EHRC… who has plunged the party into internecine warfare. In the home of democratic socialism we must button our lip at risk of being expelled.”In her speech, vice-chair Ms Wimborne-Idrissi, a leading figure in the Jewish Voice For Labour group, attacked Mr Evans over his attempt to protect Jewish members at Labour meetings.

In comments that sparked anger from other Jewish members who attended the virtual meeting, Ms Wimborne-Idrissi suggested it was wrong Jews had been made gatekeepers of what can and cannot be discussed at meetings.

At one stage, it is claimed Ms Wimborne-Idrissi openly asked new delegates, who are members of the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM), to identify themselves to the meeting – and suggested that if they had any criticism of her speech they should speak out to all members rather than comment in the online chat.

Ms Wimborne-Idrissi also openly praised the speech by another member who had attacked the alleged “weaponisation” of antisemitism claims.

In a message circulated to all at the meeting and later amongst members of the local party, she wrote: “May I just say there are many Jews in the party, including me, who endorse 100 per cent what Pippa said about the weaponisation.

“The cynical manipulation of Jewish fears and concerns is unforgivable and undermines all our work against racism of all kinds.”

On Tuesday, Labour members confirmed to the JC that they considered the meeting to have been a “deeply unpleasant environment.” 

They criticised the “combative” speeches of both the chair and vice-chair which “opened the floodgates” to further aggressive speeches at the meeting.

“Therefore all motions which touch on these issues must be ruled out of order.”

The JC has contacted Mr Lefley, Ms Wimborne-Idrissi and the Labour Party for comment.

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