Labour's Chipping Barnet candidate says she understands why Jews are 'scared' of a Jeremy Corbyn Government

Emma Whysell told hustings 'I’m sorry, I’m so sorry'



Labour's Chipping Barnet candidate has said she understands why many Jewish people are “scared to imagine” Jeremy Corbyn as prime minister.

Emma Whysall, who is looking to unseat Conservative minister Theresa Villiers in the north London marginal, told a 200-strong audience at JCoSS on Monday that she wished she could have discussed her party’s manifesto, but admitted: “I understand, I’m not able to do that tonight.

“I understand there are many in this room who are scared to imagine [Labour in power]...

“The problem my party has had over the past few years is failing to tackle antisemitism and for that I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.”

During the event, which was sponsored by the London Jewish Forum, Jewish Leadership Council, Board of Deputies and the Jewish News, she added: "I am sorry that many lifelong voters, some in this room, fear the prospect of a Labour government and feel politically homeless.

"I am sorry that as I look out tonight, I see friends and former campaigners that I’ve been campaigning alongside in this very constituency who have to leave my party because of what has happened.”

Ms Whysall, a Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) member said she was saddened to see friends who campaigned with her at the 2017 election “who have felt the need to leave our party”.

But she did not comment on the JLM's decision to not endorse the vast majority of the party's candidates in protest at Mr Corbyn’s failure to tackle anti-Jewish racism.

Ms Whysall, a trade union lawyer, cut the Tory majority to 353 in 2017, but sources close to Environment Secretary Ms Villiers have talked up her chances of increasing this slender gap on December 12.

During the hustings, which was hosted by Sha’arei Tsedek North London Reform Synagogue, Barnet United Shul and JCoSS, Ms Whysall attempted to defend Labour’s manifesto commitment to a “strong, stable and secure Israel and a viable Palestine”.

Ms Villers attacked Labour’s record on antisemitism, and insisted that, while there were strong views on Brexit in the constituency, most people “just wanted to get Brexit done.”

The event was disrupted by heckling from campaigner Jonathan Hoffman. At one stage, he was told he would be made to leave the event if he did not allow the candidates to speak.

One attendee told the JC: ”It would be fair to say that Theresa Villiers had majority support in the room, but Emma Whysall more than held her own.

“Her apology on antisemitism was taken to be genuine and well worded. The protestations of Mr Hoffman were not so well received.”

Mr Hoffman said he had heckled Ms Whysall because she failed to tell the hustings about Labour’s call for an arms embargo in their manifesto.

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