Jewish peer resigns as Jeremy Corbyn is re-elected Labour leader


Jeremy Corbyn has been re-elected as leader of the Labour Party after defeating challenger Owen Smith.

Mr Corbyn won with 313,209 votes to Mr Smith's 193,229.

The result was announced at lunchtime on Saturday at a special session in Liverpool ahead of Labour’s annual conference which opens in the city tomorrow.

One Jewish peer resigned from the party, saying Mr Corbyn’s re-election was “the end for people like me”.

Mr Smith and Mr Corbyn had clashed last weekend at a Jewish hustings event in London. The pair were questioned about the party leadership’s response to allegations of antisemitism among members during the past year.

Following his victory, Mr Corbyn vowed to bring Labour back together, saying "we have much more in common than divides us", and insisting the party could win the next election as the "engine of progress" in the country.

Jonathan Arkush, president of the Board of Deputies, said: “Nobody could pretend the last year has been easy in terms of relations between the Labour Party and the Jewish community.

“It is imperative that lessons are learned and, in particular that we see a decidedly firmer and more proactive approach to tackling antisemitism.

“For our part, we will continue to pursue a robust and constructive dialogue on this and all other communal interests and concerns.”

Lord Mitchell, a former Shadow Business Minister, resigned from Labour following the announcement.

The Jewish peer had said in August that he no longer wanted to represent the party if Mr Corbyn was its leader.

He told the JC: “I will go to the cross-bench. I will not be joining any other party. I’m doing this with a very heavy heart. It was a hard decision but it has to be done.”

Lord Mitchell, an entrepreneur who was ennobled in 2000, said the peerage awarded to Baroness Chakrabarti after she completed an inquiry into antisemitism allegations in Labour had been “the final straw”.

“I can’t see how, with my background, I can remain in the party while the leadership has these views,” the 73-year-old said.

“Sometimes you think you can tough it out and see it through – but I don’t see that happening. Corbyn and Momentum have taken a grip of the party and they will never let go.

“They have hijacked the party. It’s the end for people like me. I feel the same as Lord Kinnock – there won’t be another Labour government in my lifetime. When you are my age you say what you feel.”

Speaking to the BBC’s Sunday Politics programme, Lord Mitchell said Labour was “now a lost cause” after Corbyn won re-election as leader yesterday.

“I’m Jewish and I’m very strongly Jewish and I make no bones about it and there’s no doubt in my mind that Jeremy himself is very lukewarm on this subject,” Lord Mitchell said.

“But even more than that he surrounds himself with a coterie of people who hold violent, violent anti-Israel views and allied with it they are very hostile to Jews so, in my view, they’re pretty bad guys.”

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