Lord Mann uses maiden House of Lords speech to praise voters for rejecting 'extremism of antisemitism'

The former MP, who is now a government adviser on anti-Jewish racism, vows to 'be no bystander in driving out the stench of intolerance'


Lord Mann has used his maiden speech in the House of Lords to celebrate the defeat of both former Labour MPs Chris Williamson and George Galloway at last month's general election, hailing the British electorate's rejection of "the extremism of antisemitism".

In a moving contribution the former Bassetlaw Labour MP said the "true face of this country and the true story of the election is this: in Derby North, Christopher Williamson got 635 votes and lost his deposit."

He added: "In West Bromwich East, George Galloway got 489 votes and lost his deposit. This is the innate decency of the British people yet again.

"Across the entirety of the country, people are saying, very vocally and unequivocally, 'We reject the extremism of antisemitism.'”

Praising his two introducers in the Lords, the former Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks and Lord Clarke of Hampstead, Lord Mann said: "The rabbi and the postman; how my parents would have smiled."

Describing how northern working class communities such as the one he grew up in "expect the dignity of being heard", Lord Mann referred to the "elderly Jewish couple" in north London during last month's election day.

They had he said "voted Labour their entire lives" but this time they "wept as they went into the polling station, sobbed as they voted and cried as they left it".

He had earlier told his new colleagues in the Lords the story of Holbeck Moor, in Leeds, where his family lived, and the battle fought between 30,000 locals and 1,000 followers of Oswald Mosley just two weeks before the famous Battle of Cable Street in 1936.

"Some 30,000 local people turned out, and the fascists were promptly removed from the city," said Lord Mann.

"There is no written testimony, and there are no photographs or artists’ drawings; it is a silent history. 

"For 70 years my family lived alongside Holbeck Moor in those two-up, two-down, back-to-back terraces and cobbled streets. 

"I cannot claim with certainty that one of them threw the cobble that put Mosley in hospital, but there were 30,000 heroes yet nothing recorded."

Lord Mann continued: "I have a role now on antiemitism. 

"I am rightly independent and, as ever, I shall work cross-party, but I will be no bystander in driving out the stench of intolerance from the party that in 1906 my family helped to create in the city of Leeds, in the streets around Holbeck Moor."

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