Labour MP faces mounting criticism after not condemning motion attacking Board of Deputies

Sam Tarry said there were 'conflicting accounts of what happened and what was said' at meeting that passed motion


New Labour MP Sam Tarry is facing mounting criticism for not publicly condemning a motion a party branch in his constituency passed that attacked the Board of Deputies for supposedly being pro-Tory.

The Cranbrook and Valentines party branch - in Mr Tarry's Ilford South seat - passed the motion on Monday that dismissed the Board's 10 pledges to heal Labour's rift with the Jewish community.

The motion said the Board had been "consistent in its support for the Conservative Party" by "fulsomely welcoming the election of Boris Johnson" and complained the pledges did not address "all forms of racism".

Local member Alex Chambers wrote on Twitter that he and another Jewish Labour member were accused of being “agents of a foreign power” during the debate over the motion.

Mr Tarry tweeted about the incident but stopped short of condemning the motion, saying there were "conflicting accounts of what happened and what was said".

He wrote on Tuesday: "I always take any allegation of racism extremely seriously.

"I’ve been speaking to members this morning who were in attendance at the local ward branch meeting last night, including the two Jewish members who proposed the motion.

“There are conflicting accounts of what happened and what was said. The allegations are very serious and should be looked at carefully. If any allegation is upheld, there should be absolutely zero tolerance.”

Another Labour MP told the JC: "This is Sam Tarry’s first test since being elected on stamping out antisemitism in his local party.

“And so far he is failing badly.”

Shortly after this article went live, Mr Tarry, who was elected in 2019 and previously worked for the Hope Not Hate anti-racist campaign group, told the JC: "Having now seen the motion, and spoken to several members who were in attendance at the meeting, I’ve asked that any complaints go through the party’s formal channels to ensure that this matter is dealt with thoroughly and impartially."

Local Labour councillors Farah Hussain, Khayer Chowdhury and Varinder Singh Bola issued their own statement in which they “utterly condemned” the motion.

They wrote: “Last night Cranbrook and Valentines branch Labour Party passed a motion that minimised the scourge of antisemitism in the party and asked leadership candidates to ignore the Board of Deputies' 10 pledges.

“There are reports that members who spoke against the motion were bullied and antisemitic tropes used at the meeting.

“Let us be clear: we utterly condemn this motion and believe that all accusations of abuse and antisemitism should be investigated.”

The Board of Deputies labelled the councillors “brave and principled”. In a statement they added: “We need to stand together against prejudice of every kind.”

On Wednesday Councillor Chowdhury added: "I make no apologies for standing with the Board of Deputies.

"The Board has stood with us in the fight against Islamophobia – we’ll stand with the Board to defeat antisemitism.”

On Wednesday, the far-left Morning Star newspaper produced a front page with the headline "BoD Pledges Slammed By Labour Left", attacking the Board for their 10 pledges.

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