Jewish Labour Movement to be joined by Dame Louise Ellman for virtual talks with Sir Keir Starmer

Monday's meeting will be the first formal meeting between Labour's Jewish affiliate and the party leader since 2014.


Jewish Labour Movement officials are to hold talks with Sir Keir Starmer on Monday - the first formal meeting between Labour's Jewish affiliate and the party leader since 2014.

Also taking part in the discussions are Dame Louise Ellman - the former Labour MP who resigned from the party and stood down from her Liverpool Riverside seat ahead of last year's general election in protest at Jeremy Corbyn's failure on anti-Jewish racism. 

The meeting, which is taking place virtually, will discuss the party’s response to the EHRC investigation, the appointment of a new general secretary, as well as the potential return of JLM’s antisemitism awareness training programme.

Dame Louise has hinted at returning to the party she first joined 57 years ago, if she is satisfied Sir Keir has acted sufficiently to tackle the crisis that engulfed Labour under Mr Corbyn.

A JLM source said: "All early indications are that Starmer takes the issue of Labour Party antisemitism incredibly seriously.

"In the hours that followed his election as leader, he set about reaching out to the Jewish community to offer his apology and assurance that change would follow.

"The leaked ‘report’ into the Party’s handling of antisemitism was just a small example of the challenges that his Leadership will face.

"His predecessor would often offer up strong words and no action followed. JLM will be very anxious to see real changes happening within the Party. The departure of Formby was a good start. All eyes are now on their response to the EHRCs findings”. 

The meeting will be attended by JLM national officers, including National Chair and Parliamentary Chair Mike Katz and Dame Margaret Hodge MP. Others attending include JLM national secretary and treasurer Peter Mason and Cathy Ashley, and JLM's former parliamentary chair, ex-MP Ruth Smeeth.

The rapid breakdown of JLM’s relationship with the party's previous leadership and Jennie Formby followed repeated failures to take necessary steps to tackle a culture of bullying, harassment and antisemitism.

JLM withdrew from delivering its own antisemitism training programme for members following the attempted censoring of content that highlighted the party’s poor performance in tackling antisemitic hate speech within its ranks.

They have made it clear that there will be no return to training or a restoration of a normal working relationship between it and the party until after the EHRC has reported and concrete actions have followed the strong and positive signals set out by Sir Keir during the leadership campaign and since his election as leader.

JLM, which was formed in 1903, is currently marking its 100th year of affiliation to the Labour Party and has experienced significant growth over the last few years to a movement of 4,000 Jewish Labour activists.

Centenary celebrations have been deferred until 2021 due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.  

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive