Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Diane Abbott criticised for 'grave misjudgement' over her response to Commons antisemitism debate

Other MPs jeered as Ms Abbott ignored a question posed by a Jewish Labour MP

    Labour MPs have rounded on Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott accusing her of failing to address the concerns raised by MPs during her closing speech in Tuesday's antisemitism debate.

    Louise Ellman accused Ms Abbott of making a "grave misjudgement" with her remarks in the Commons - while Labour colleague Wes Streeting said he feared the wider Jewish community would be “horrified by the response from our front bench to this debate today".

    Anger mounted as Ms Abbott initially refused to give way to Leeds North West Labour MP Alex Sobel.

    When he eventually was allowed to mention his recent experience of receiving antisemitic hate mail, Mr Sobel said: "Maybe she wasn’t aware that I was the only Jewish parliamentarian in the debate who wasn’t called to speak.”

    He also asked her if she agreed on the need to tackle antisemitism “right across the political spectrum in our own party”.

    But Ms Abbott faced jeers as she instead devoted more than half her speech to addressing concerns of her local Charedi community in Hackney.

    She said: "It is having represented that community for many decades which has shaped my strong views on antisemitism.

    “I have one of the oldest Jewish communities in the country and I also have the largest community of Charedi Orthodox Jewish people outside New York and, of course, Israel."

    Ms Abbott added: “I want to take the opportunity to raise just two issues that have concerned the Charedi community, who are not often talked about in this chamber.

    “One is the rising level of hate crime.”

    MPs jeered as the Shadow Home Secretary attempted to continue her speech.

    But they were silenced as Deputy Speaker Eleanor Laing was forced to intervene. 

    Ms Abbott later said "one antisemite in the Labour Party is one too many" - but insisted "nothing is gained" by accusing Mr Corbyn of being an antisemite.

    Labour MP John Mann said the left-wing Momentum group had targeted him for showing solidarity with Jewish Labour members - with his wife "threatened with rape" by a "leftist antisemite" in recent weeks.

    Dame Margaret Hodge was applauded after saying she felt like her party has "given permission for antisemitism to go unchallenged", adding: "Antisemitism is making me an outsider in my Labour Party. To that, I simply say enough is enough."

    Amber Rudd, Home Secretary, closed the debate and concluded: “Labour is a noble and honourable party and it is absolutely wrong that this corner of antisemitism has been allowed to flourish. [Mr Corbyn] has an obligation to take action. We expect nothing less.”

Comment

Beware of antisemites in disguise

Fiyaz Mughal

Yesterday, 13:29

Beware of antisemites in disguise
World

Ex-Israeli PM defends IDF's actions in Gaza

Daniel Sugarman

Thu, 13:40

Ex-Israeli PM defends IDF's actions in Gaza
UK News

Left-wing blog co-founder 'quits' after followers send David Baddiel antisemitic abuse

Lee Harpin

Wed, 18:57

Left-wing blog co-founder 'quits' after followers send David Baddiel antisemitic abuse
Features

Review: Platinum Celebrating Israel At 70 at the Royal Albert Hall

Lee Harpin

Yesterday, 08:21

Review: Platinum Celebrating Israel At 70 at the Royal Albert Hall
UK News

'Hate' metal band dropped from UK tour over 'sick fascination with Nazis'

Rosa Doherty

Daniel Sugarman

Thu, 10:20

'Hate' metal band dropped from UK tour over 'sick fascination with Nazis'
UK News

Meet the original Duke of Sussex – friend of British Jews

Ben Weich

Wed, 14:59

Meet the original Duke of Sussex – friend of British Jews
UK News

Anger over Labour Livingstone resignation collusion

Lee Harpin

Thu, 16:22

Anger over Labour Livingstone resignation collusion
World

US 'could recognise Israel's sovereignty over Golan Heights within months'

Daniel Sugarman

Thu, 09:17

US 'could recognise Israel's sovereignty over Golan Heights within months'
The Diary

The Jewish page boys at the Royal Wedding

Jessica Weinstein

Wed, 10:38

The Jewish page boys at the Royal Wedding