Jewish MPs will be offered bodyguards at Labour conference

Protection will be offered to those MPs attending next month’s Labour Party conference


Jewish MPs will be given bodyguards at next month’s Labour Party Conference as fears around their safety grow amid the antisemitism row that engulfs the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn.

Protection will be offered to those MPs attending who have been victims of abuse from people who claim to support Mr Corbyn on social media.

It comes after Luciana Berger said she felt ‘unwelcome’ in her own party after a video emerged showing Mr Corbyn making seemingly xenophobic comments about ‘Zionists’ of having no sense of English irony. 

The Liverpool Wavertree MP said the Labour leader’s comments in the 2013 speech were "inexcusable".

According to gthe Mail on Sunday, the Jewish Labour Movement has held talks with the Community Security Trust about providing protection for Jewish MPs attending the Liverpool conference.

A source said: “This conference will be particularly tense as much of the worst antisemitic trolling on the internet has been traced back to hotspots in Merseyside.

“The CST are reporting back with a full assessment of the security requirements. There is a real concern about safety.”

Since the video of Mr Corbyn’s remarks emerged, it has been alleged he was referring to Jewish blogger Richard Millett.

Mr Millett, whose family arrived in England more than 100 years ago and founded the outdoor clothing chain, said he feared for his safety.

He said: “I am scared on a physical level and the Jewish community is upset about what they see is happening. I think we are all scared.

“I am sure he [Mr Corbyn] knows me and knows I am Jewish as we had come across each other on a number of occasions before this meeting.

“He would have been aware of who I was when he made his outrageous and racist comments.”

Mr Millett said he was owed an apology.

“I am English. I have been part of English irony, humour, culture, for the past 50 years. It just seems to be that I am not part of Jeremy Corbyn’s Britain’.

A spokesperson for Mr Corbyn denied the comments were offensive: "He was referring to a group of pro-Israel activists misunderstanding - and then criticising - the Palestinian ambassador for a speech at a separate event about the occupation of the West Bank."

Mr Corbyn later sought to clarify his comments and released a statement on Friday evening after Shabbat.

Mr Corbyn said he spoke to "defend the Palestinian ambassador in the face of what I thought were deliberate misrepresentations" from people "for whom English was a first language, when it isn't for the ambassador".

He said: "I described those pro-Israel activists as Zionists, in the accurate political sense and not as a euphemism for Jewish people - and that is made clear in the rest of my speech that day.

"I am now more careful with how I might use the term 'Zionist' because a once self-identifying political term has been increasingly hijacked by anti-Semites as code for Jews."

The Conservative Party has filed a formal complaint about Mr Corbyn’s comments with the Parliamentary standards watchdog.

It has asked it to investigate if Mr Corbyn breached the code of conduct, which says MPs must not damage the reputation of the Commons

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