Hundreds join Jewish Labour Movement to vote on who succeeds Jeremy Corbyn

Group surges to 3,000 members, the highest number in a decade


Hundreds of people have joined the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) since the General Election to cast a vote in the party's forthcoming leadership contest.

The JC understands that JLM membership now tops 3,000 – and the vast majority of new recruits to the organisation signed up for the full membership option available only to Jewish adults.

Last week, former MP Ruth Smeeth, the current JLM parliamentary chair, wrote for the JC urging members of the community to join the organisation, which is affiliated to Labour, in order to have a say in who replaces Jeremy Corbyn.

Sources at JLM confirmed to the JC there had been “a flood” of new applications to join the group since election day on December 12 which they called “a sign of how many people are desperate for a viable and functional opposition party take effectively take on Boris Johnson’s Tory Party.”

While JLM once counted tens of thousands of members during the group’s pre-Second World War heyday, the 3,000-strong membership list is the highest it has been over the past decade.

“It is great news,” added the source. “The Jewish community has always been a progressive one at its heart. This is really showing through once again at a time of political crisis.”

Applications to join JLM are also being closely cruised by officials to weed out anyone joining the group under false pretences. While new members do not have to be Labour members, a link to the wider movement is necessary.

Full membership is available to those who are Jewish, while ally membership allows people who are not Jews to join JLM in solidarity. Youth and student membership is also available at a discounted rate.

A formal affiliate of Labour's since 1920, JLM campaigns within the party and the wider community to support Labour values in the UK, Israel and internationally.

Last week, Ms Smeeth said the outcome of the Labour leadership contest was “vital for the community.”

She  said “no currently serving member of the Shadow Cabinet deserves our vote”.

It is understood that Dame Margaret Hodge, the MP for Barking, is now likely to be elected JLM's parliamentary chair when the group’s executive next meets.

Labour's ruling National Executive Committee has announced the new leader will be revealed on April 4.

MPs Clive Lewis, Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips, Sir Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry have so far entered the race to succeed Mr Corbyn, with Rebecca Long Bailey expected to announce her bid soon.

A Labour spokeswoman said: “Our National Executive Committee has agreed the timetable and process for the leadership and deputy leadership elections. The ballot will run from February 21 to April 2, with the results announced on Saturday April 4.

“We are by far the largest political party in the UK with well over half a million members. We want as many of our members and supporters to take part, so it has been designed to be open, fair and democratic.”

Nominations will open from MPs and MEPs on Tuesday and will close on January 13.

The leadership contest rules mean it is possible to join JLM up until January 20 and still have a vote on Mr Corbyn’s replacement.

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