Jewish Labour Movement urges party to withdraw whip from MP Rupa Huq after accusations of antisemitism

Group says claims, if true, 'provide yet more evidence of the institutionalised racism which runs through Labour'


The Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) has urged the party to withdraw the whip from MP Rupa Huq, over what it called "serious allegations of antisemitic bullying and harassment" against her from former staffers.

According to complaints revealed by the Times, Ms Huq, who represents Ealing Central and Acton, two former staffers have accused her of antisemitism, despite her having attended the Jewish community’s “Enough is Enough” demonstration against Labour antisemitism last year.

JLM condemned what it described as “serious allegations of antisemitic bullying and harassment by an MP towards her staff.

“If Rupa Huq MP is not willing to withdraw herself from the Labour Whip whilst these serious allegations are investigated, the party should suspend it.”

One former staff member with Jewish heritage, who had a number of badges attached to his bag including a Star of David, alleged that on his second day in the job Ms Huq asked: “Why do you have the flag of Israel on your bag?”

Despite telling her that it was a Jewish symbol, he said she repeatedly asked the question throughout the day.

The same staffer said that later that month Ms Huq “banned” him from writing policy responses, after telling him that something he wrote on the Israel-Palestine conflict was too pro-Israel.

On another occasion, Ms Huq brought the Jewish faith of a job applicant up during an internal staff e-mail conversation about a job applicant.

The MP said she would “have to say no but don’t want him to claim antisemitism.”

The Times also reported that a second complainant accused Ms Huq of having removed a “no tolerance for antisemitism” poster which belonged to the first staffer and throwing it on the floor on a day he had not come into the office because he was unwell, with the MP saying “well, we obviously don’t need this anymore.”

The same complainant, also alleged that when interviewing for staff roles Ms Huq generally asked the same questions but in September “devised a whole separate line of questioning based on Judaism and loyalty to Israel for one of the candidates”.

That candidate was Jewish.

A spokesperson for Ms Huq told the Times: “Any suggestion that Rupa is antisemitic or has acted inappropriately is entirely false and malicious.”

They said that Ms Huq had no recollection of saying some of the things she had been accused of, while in other cases, such as the Star of David on a staffer’s bag, she had asked the question only once.

The JLM said that, if the accusations against the MP were proven, “they provide yet more evidence of the institutionalised racism which runs through the Labour Party, and of a culture where casual discrimination against Jews is deemed acceptable.

 “This is another illustration of why JLM was right to refer to the EHRC and it shows the scale of the crisis which they have to investigate.”

Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl said: “If true, this would be a damning indictment on MP Rupa Huq, especially in the context of Labour’s wider ongoing antisemitism scandal.

"We call on her to fully publish the email trails so that the truth can come out. Racism at work is never acceptable.”

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