Labour General Secretary Jennie Formby is facing further questions over her handling of Labour’s antisemitism crisis after an activist claimed she called allegations “smears” against Jeremy Corbyn.
After a confrontational meeting of Labour MPs, at which Ms Formby said it was "impossible" to eradicate Jew-hate from the party, Jewish Labour Movement activist Luisa Attfield said she had met her late last year in the company of another party member.
Ms Attfield, who is also women’s officer with Finchley and Golders Green Labour Party, wrote on Twitter: "We were careful not to mention Jeremy or even refer to him. That didn’t stop her talking about the 'smears' against him. Or from claiming he had ‘done more to tackle racism than anyone else in parliament’.”
Late last year me and a fellow Jewish member met with Jenny Formby to discuss AS. I’ve always been very cynical about the leaderships ability and will to tackle it, but even I was shocked by the meeting 1/9— Luisa Attfield (@l_attfield) February 4, 2019
Ms Attfield wrote this on Monday night, after Ms Formby told MPs at the Parliamentary Labour Party meeting that she had “never spoken of smears” in relation to antisemitism.
She told the PLP she had seen the examples of antisemitism in the party with “most occurring online”.
In her own account of her meeting with Ms Formby, Ms Attfield said she was “shocked” by what she heard.
She wrote on Twitter: "To say it was a waste of time would be a massive understatement.
“Every concern we raised was dismissed with a ‘that’s bad but I can’t do anything’. Every suggestion we made of what she could do was dismissed.
"She spent a lot of the time just talking about totally irrelevant things. Like the time she visited a shul and her distant relative who is Jewish.
"Maybe I’m cynical but it looked like a she was running down the clock."
Ms Attfield claimed they discussed but "not by name" controversial Labour MP Chris Williamson.
The JLM has called on the party to strip him of the whip, most recently after the MP shared a petition defending notorious antisemite Gilad Atzmon.
Ms Attfield claimed Ms Formby said "sharing a platform is not bringing the party into disrepute".
“We mentioned Willsman - he apologised and retracted. We have to be forgiving. I got the view that she thought everyone who apologised should not be punished," the JLM campaigner said.
But she said Ms Formby had been "factional" and was "openly hostile" to JLM because of the antisemitism training it offers "for not censoring their training to suit her".
Ms Formby said her predecessor Iain McNicol did not want long-time suspended Labour member Jackie Walker to be disciplined, Ms Attfield said, tweeting: "Like wtf."
Ms Attfield said Ms Formby was "quite short" about the Jewish community bodies such as the Jewish Leadership Council, the Board of Deputies and the CST.
Ms Formby accused them of "publishing letters which worsened things", according to Ms Attfield.
“She was angry that Jewish groups were refusing to meet with Labour (and appeared to use that to blame some of the problems on them)", Ms Attfield tweeted.
“It was a complete waste of time but also quite revealing. I have no faith in her tackling the problem at all.”