Labour loses seats in Jewish districts of England and Scotland


Local election results across the country have revealed the apparent extent of disaffection with the Labour Party.

While Labour retained overall control of Bury Council, its support collapsed in Prestwich – at the heart of Manchester's Jewish community.

Party councillors blamed the loss of votes in the area on the comments made by former London mayor Ken Livingstone, in particular his claim last week that Hitler was a “Zionist”.

The Sedgley ward, which covers Prestwich and was once held by now Jewish Labour MP Ivan Lewis, was taken by the Tories’ David Silbiger from Labour’s Andrea Simpson.

Alan Quinn, a Labour councillor for Sedgley, claimed the party's antisemitism crisis had sparked a “backlash against the Labour Party”.

He said: “It’s down to one person, and that’s Ken Livingstone.

“He has caused grotesque offence to the Jewish population in Prestwich with his absolutely awful comments. Our councillors put their hearts and souls into representing the area and there really is no place in the Labour Party for bigots like Ken Livingstone.”

The Scottish parliamentary seat of Eastwood, home to more than half of Scotland’s Jewish population, was captured by the Conservatives from Labour.

Votes in the London mayoral election are being counted today, with the result expected to be announced between 5pm and 10pm.

Speaking on the BBC, Labour MP John Mann said the ongoing row over Jew-hate had hurt the party in the polls.

Mr Mann, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, had a public row with Mr Livingstone last week. He told the BBC: "It is clear the Jewish vote has gone against Labour."

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell echoed the claim. He said: “I regret it happened, I made it very, very clear very early on that Ken Livingstone was wrong. He should have apologised and it has set us back, there’s no doubt about that.”

Wes Streeting, the Labour MP for Ilford North, wrote on Twitter: “We have paid a heavy price in Havering & Redbridge for Livingstone's Hitler rants. Simply unforgivable.”

Thousands of Londoners cast their votes before the polls officially shut at 10pm on Thursday.

Barnet residents were initially unable to cast their votes after being turned away from polling stations due to administrative errors.

There are 25 seats up for grabs on the London Assembly; the majority are expected to be declared around 3pm. Of those seats, 14 are based on individual constituencies.

The remaining 11 seats, elected by proportional representation, were set to be declared after the new mayor has been announced.

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