Tulip Siddiq: 'I have been active in speaking out against antisemitism'

Labour's candidate in Hampstead and Kilburn stakes her claim to the Jewish vote, and says she backed Corbyn's leadership bid only to broaden debate in the party


Tulip Siddiq, Labour's candidate for Hampstead and Kilburn, has said the fight against antisemitism is strengthened by the help of non-Jewish campaigners.

In an outspoken interview with the JC, Ms Siddiq also claimed she had only voted for Jeremy Corbyn in the party's first leadership ballot to "broaden the debate" and that he personally told her:"I don't want to be leader."

Ms Siddiq - who is fighting to regain her seat in the north-west London constituency with a slender 1, 138 majority - is keen to stress her close relations with her local Jewish electorate.

"I grew up with the community, even before I became an MP, " she revealed. "My daughter goes to a Jewish nursery, I've spoken at Limmud, and if there's ever a synagogue event, whatever the issue, that is the one thing I have prioritised

"As a Muslim myself, it is crucial that you have non-Jewish people joining the fight against antisemitism.

"It must never just be Jewish people who are fighting against this discrimination. It has also got to be people who were not victims themselves. That is what I have tried to do.

"Only yesterday I was approached by Orthodox women from the Shomrei Hadath shul in West Hampstead.

"I had spoken there before, and these women remembered. They said they don't normally vote Labour - but they would vote for me, as I had been so active in speaking up against antisemitism."

Ms Siddiq, who remains a staunch pro-EU politician, is open in her criticism of Mr Corbyn.

"The Tories are trying to make a big thing out the fact that I voted for Jeremy is the first leadership ballot," she said.

"They conveniently forget that I resigned from his front bench, and that I supported Owen Smith the second time around.

"The truth is Jeremy himself told me, and others, that he didn't want to be leader when he stood, and that he was only doing so to broaden the debate.

"We were in a Westminster tea room, I think when Jeremy himself told me: "I don't want to be leader - I just want to broaden the debate."

"Remember Labour had just lost badly under Ed Miliband and lots us felt there was a need to broaden the debate in the party.

"Of course we wouldn't have done it if we had known the consequences."

Ms Siddiq will be challenged by Kirsty Allan for the Liberal Democrats and Claire-Louise Leyland for the Conservatives for the Hampstead and Kilburn parliamentary seat.

She has received the backing of both local human rights lawyer Philippe Sands and anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller.

Professor Sands, a QC, said: "Tulip is a fabulous constituency MP who has been principled and strong on Brexit and HS2. She is the only candidate who can beat the Tories in our area. I support her strongly and enthusiastically."

Ms Miller will next week name Ms Siddiq as one of 10 candidates across the UK to back with strong pro-Remain credentials.

See all our Election 2017 coverage here


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