Labour MPs will get to vote on emergency antisemitism motion - in September

MPs postpone showdown with party leadership over IHRA definition of Jew-hate


Labour MPs have given the green light to vote on an emergency motion that calls for the party’s ruling body to revert to accepting the internationally recognised definition on antisemitism.

But at a Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) meeting on Monday, MPs were told that the ballot could now not take place until they returned from summer recess in September.

An emergency motion - proposed by Jewish MP Dame Louise Ellman and seconded by Ruth Smeeth - called for the PLP’s standing orders to be amended to include the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition and all its accompanying examples.

The party triggered outrage by adopting an antisemitism code of conduct that omits key examples of Jew-hate contained in the IHRA definition, despite Labour MPs voting overwhelmingly for the IHRA definition at their meeting last week.

After Monday's meeting, Dame Louise, the Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside, said she was “very pleased" with the outcome.

“It was genuinely moving to see the show of support from MPs for the motion,” she added.

MPs will now vote on the motion on September 5 - the first Wednesday after MPs return from the summer recess - with ballots cast in private.

Dame Louise, Luciana Berger and Ruth Smeeth were among the MPs to speak at Monday’s meeting.

Dame Margaret Hodge also attended and said afterwards the meeting had been “incredibly emotional.”

There was also praise for Kate Green - who was said to have spoken passionately on the need for the party to adopt the IHRA definition.

Former deputy prime minister Lord Prescott was said to have questioned whether the antisemitism crisis was having any impact on the Labour vote. He was presented with ComRes polling that showed a third of Labour voters thought Jeremy Corbyn was letting the party down by failing to tackle the issue.

Lord Prescott attracted huge controversy in 2014 when he compared Gaza to a "concentration camp", and called Israel's assault on it a "war crime".

In a clear sign of the strength of Labour MPs' rebellion against Mr Corbyn’s new antisemitism code, the PLP agreed to allow the emergency motion to be voted on in September without any objections.

Mr Corbyn did not attend Monday evening's meeting - even though it is traditional for the party leader to address MPs at the last meeting before summer.

Labour rules state that any changes to the PLPs standing orders “must be endorsed by the NEC”, in effect forcing the NEC to carry out a vote on adopting the IHRA definition if the motion is passed.

MPs will attempt to force the NEC’s hand after it rejected the IHRA definition in favour of its own.

The NEC-approved definition of antisemitism omits two key examples from the IHRA one: accusing Jews of split loyalties on Israel and claiming that the state of Israel is a racist endeavour.

The party adopted the code of conduct on antisemitism without a vote at last week’s NEC meeting, though it was accused of "fudging" the matter by simultaneously pledging to consult further with the Jewish community.

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