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Labour's John Mann urges allies to 'take the war to the antisemities' in defiant speech

He tells annual CST dinner guests to fight the 'scourge' of Jew-hate with 'the spirit of the Maccabees'

    MP John Mann addresses the CST annual dinner on February 27, 2019
    MP John Mann addresses the CST annual dinner on February 27, 2019 (Photo: Twitter)

    Labour's John Mann has spoken of the need to "take the war to the antisemites" in a defiant speech delivered to over one thousand guests at the annual Community Security Trust (CST) dinner.

    With his voice often trembling as he spoke, the MP for Bassetlaw, who is chair of the All Party-Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, told of the deep links between his own family, going back generations and the Jewish community in Leeds.

    Holding up a red rose, Mr Mann said: "That is the real Labour Party. Not the hammer and the sickle - this red rose is the real emblem."

    He handed out four roses to Jewish MPs Dame Margaret Hodge, Dame Louise Ellman, Ruth Smeeth and Luciana Berger, who quit the party last week, calling it "institutionally antisemitic".

    He then added: "I say to you Luciana, you have left the Labour Party, but you have not left us, and we will never ever leave you."

    Praising CST's work, he added: "Our job as MPs is to stand in front of you when they are throwing the stones of hatred, of bitterness, the bile. This our duty."

    He continued: "Let me be quite clear to all of you...

    "You have no idea how lucky you are to have the CST. You really need to understand how significant this organisation is."

    Mr Mann then attacked Labour's "unwillingness to act" on Jew-hate, adding he had a "burning anger" about the matter.

    He said: "My grandparents were in the Labour Party. My great-grandparents formed the Labour Party with Jewish workers in Leeds in 1906.

    "And at every stage... they stood alongside the Jewish community., defended the Jewish community.

    "And when my family was in trouble, when my family was thrown out of work for forming the Labour Party in Leeds, the Jewish community, the Jewish workers, the Jewish Labour Movement -  they stood alongside my family.

    "Thats the history of the Labour Party... that's what's at stake here.

    "And we are not going to give in. And we are not going to hand over to these antisemities and those that stand by and encourage them and are silent."

    Mr Mann then praised the staff who worked for the MPs targeted by the antisemites and the families of parliamentarians who were caught up.

    The MP asked: "What about Luciana's husband, Ruth's mother, Louise's family, Margaret's children?

    "What about my wife, and my daughters with the rape threats from antisemities, with the bomb scares, with the dead birds sent through the post.

    "You cannot imagine what our staff and our families have gone through because the Labour Party has refused to deal with this scourge of antisemitism."

    Mr Mann ended by saying: "We can fight this scourge of antisemitism from the far right, from the far left, from the Islamists.

    "We all have to do our bit. and we need a lot more. With the spirit of the Maccabees, with the organisation of CST, we have to take the war to the antisemites.

    "And when we do we will win. We have no choice."

    More than 1,000 guests - including Labour deputy leader Tom Watson, Communities Secretary James Brokenshire,and Home Affairs Select Committee chair Yvette Cooper, attended the event in central London on Wednesday night.

    Home Secretary Sajid Javid delivered a speech in which he pledged £14 million towards CST, while Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick praised the collaboration between the police and the CST.

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