Ex MP Lee Scott says antisemitic abuse cost him his seat


Ousted Conservative MP Lee Scott has said antisemitic abuse cost him his job in Parliament.

Mr Scott was beaten by Labour’s Wes Streeting in Ilford North, missing out by 589 votes.

During the campaign he was the target of death threats and anti-Jewish hatred.

He said there was “no question in my mind” that the attacks on him had contributed to his defeat.

“I’d been through a lot with the death threats and other stuff going on,” he said.

That was a reference to the years of abuse he suffered from Islamists who called him an “enemy of Muslims”, and others who targeted him for his defence of Israel in Parliament and Jewish background.

Two years ago Mr Scott admitted he had been reduced to tears after being subjected to an antisemitic death threat while campaigning for re-election in 2010. After the incident Mr Scott required police protection.

During the campaign this year he did not attend any hustings held by local faith groups because of "security concerns".

Did Mr Scott believe the antisemitism directed at him had played a role in his defeat?

“There’s no question in my mind. At the end of the day I said I would stand by my support for Israel and my beliefs – I paid the price. But that’s life,” he said.

Labour had “thrown everything” at winning the seat, he added.

The result was one of the surprises in London on election night, with 32-year-old Mr Streeting overturning Mr Scott’s 5,404 majority to capture the constituency.

Defeat had left the Jewish politician “pretty distraught”, he admitted.

Mr Streeting paid tribute to Mr Scott’s contribution to the constituency at Friday morning’s declaration, and later posted on Twitter: “Lee Scott served Ilford North for 10 years as our MP. He's a good man and I wish him, Estelle and family well for future.”

Mr Scott said the scenes as the result was announced, including the two men sharing a hug, had been “quite emotional”.

He said he has already received job offers, “but I’m not thinking of anything at the moment”. He gave no indication of his future career possibilities.

Mr Scott previously worked as UJIA regional director in Leeds, but would not speculate on the possibility of returning to work in the Jewish community.

The former MP said he would “take a break” with a holiday next week before coming back to Britain to consider his next move.

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