Reading Labour Party distances itself from Jew-hate training event by activist behind antisemitic rant

Leading members say they did not approve event and warn against anything that would 'jeopardise the safety of our members or the wider community'


Leading members of a local Labour Party have distanced themselves from an activist behind an antisemitic tirade who is due to deliver training on Jew-hate to its members, saying the speaker "does not reflect the kind of society... we are trying to create".

The JC revealed that Jewish Voice For Labour's Glyn Secker was due to speak at the Reading and District Labour Party (RDLP) on May 30, less than three weeks after he appalled British Jews with a speech saying "Jews" were "in the gutter" with far-right groups.

He will deliver the talk in his role as secretary of Jewish Voice For Labour, the fringe pro-Corbyn group set up to downplay accusations of antisemitism within Jeremy Corbyn's party.

The invitation was organised by the Reading branch of the leftwing pro-Corbyn campaign group Momentum and Labour Against the Witchhunt, which defends Labour members accused of antisemitism, the JC has learned, in an ongoing power struggle over the local party.

But in a statement, RDLP chair Mo McSevney, treasurer Glenn Dennis and vice-chairs Ali Foster and Sophia James said: "We are deeply saddened and shocked that this event has been advertised publicly on behalf of the Reading and District LabourParty. 

"We would like to make it clear that this event has not been authorised or agreed by our party and will not receive any money from party members.

 "Labour is the party of equality and Reading is a town rich in diversity. We are proud of our record of standing up to hate speech and we have campaigned against antisemites and fascists alike."

They added their process "for discussing and approving our events...  has not been followed".

"We have been working with the appropriate people to get this event cancelled in our name and to have the matter investigated further since it was brought to our attention," their statement continued.

 "This speaker does not reflect the kind of society that we in Reading and District Labour Party are trying to create. 

"We do not support a minority attempting to threaten our values and to threaten the community cohesion, which we have worked so hard to protect in our town.

"We aspire to have different and challenging political discussions and events on a range of issues but we will not allow a minority to host events or speakers which jeopardise the safety of our members or the wider community."

In his speech on Saturday to a pro-Palestine march in London, Mr Secker called Jeremy Corbyn's critics a "fifth column" within the party.

He said: "It’s not about antisemitism here either. The Labour Party secretary Formby has established the serious cases amount to 100th of one per cent.

“And Jewish leaders are turning a blind eye to the extreme right even when their own Zionist Federation embraces the English Defence League, a neo-fascist group banned on Facebook.

“What on earth are Jews doing in the gutter with these rats?”

Labour is investigating his inflammatory speech, it is understood.

Figures from the party lined up to condemn the speech, with Jewish MP Alex Sobel telling the JC: "There’s no place in the Labour Party for purveyors of hate speech…

"He knew what he was saying and he was clearly applying his comments to the UK Jewish community.”

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