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Labour MP Mike Gapes to quit over antisemitism

Mr Gapes, a former chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee is said to have posted in a Labour WhatsApp group saying that he would leave the party

    Mike Gapes
    Mike Gapes Photo: (Twitter)

    A senior Labour MP said he is going to quit the party over its ongoing struggle with antisemitism.

    Mike Gapes, the MP for Ilford South, in northeast London, is said to have told colleagues it was “over” for him and he was no longer “prepared to support” Mr Corbyn.

    It comes after a video revealed by the Daily Mail, shows Mr Corbyn saying Zionists “don't understand English irony” despite having lived in the country for a very long time.

    Mr Corbyn made the remark during a meeting of the Palestinian Return Centre when talking about an earlier speech from Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian envoy to the UK.

    The labour leader is heard describing Mr Hassassian's speech as “incredibly powerful, passionate and effective about the history of Palestine and the rights of the Palestinian people.”

    He continues: “This was dutifully recorded by the thankfully silent Zionists who were in the audience on that occasion, and then came up and berated him afterwards for what he had said.

    “They clearly have two problems. One is that they don’t want to study history, and secondly, having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives, don’t understand English irony.”

    Mr Corbyn at the 2013 PRC event
    Mr Corbyn at the 2013 PRC event (Photo:YouTube)

    Mr Gapes, a former chairman of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee is said to have posted in a Labour WhatsApp group saying that he would leave the party.

    According to The Times the messages were sent on Thursday and Mr Gapes said all that remains is ‘the timing of my announcement.”

    When approached by the Independent Mr Gapes said he would not comment on the leak, but said he was “agonising every day” over whether to quit the party because of the ongoing antisemitism row.

    He said the party was “a horrible place to be” in the wake of  Mr Corbyn’s comments about Zionists .

    “It is painful. It is a horrible place to be and it can’t go on,” he said.

    Mr Gapes added: “Something has to change in the party or everyone has to make their own position, about where they stand. I am agonising with this every day.”

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