Tories investigate party veteran who called for pro-Israel politicians to be 'flushed out' of government

Sir Alan Duncan accused of antisemitism for claiming Jewish politicians serve the ‘interests of another country’


Sir Alan Duncan has been accused of antisemitism for his rant on LBC (Photo by DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)

Accusations of antisemitism have been levelled at a senior Tory who called for supporters of Israel to be removed from government.

The Conservative Party are investigating former Tory MP Sir Alan Duncan after he said pro-Israel members of government should be “flushed out” of parliament and accused several British politicians of dual loyalties to Israel. The investigation is expected to take several weeks. If it is found that Sir Alan has breached the Conservatives’ Code of Conduct he could face expulsion from the party.

In an attack on pro-Israel politicians, Alan said several government figures had been “exercising the interests of another country” and should be “pushed out.”

Speaking on LBC on Thursday morning, the former Tory MP for Rutland and Melton took aim at the Conservative Friends of Israel and said the group “has been doing the bidding of Netanyahu, bypassing all proper processes of government to exercise undue influence at the top of government.”

Conservative MP Andrew Percy warned that Alan’s comments played “into antisemitic tropes and risk fuelling further Jew hate on our streets.”

Lord Pickles said: "Sir Alan's views are odd and unwise in equal measure"

The Jewish Leadership Council accused Alan of sharing “antisemitic tropes” and the Board of Deputies called his comments “disgraceful”.

Alan, who previously served as vice-chair of the Conservative Party, directed a pointed attack towards CFI’s honorary president, Lord Polak, who is Jewish, and its parliamentary chair, Lord Pickles, who is not Jewish. Alan called the pair “the Laurel and Hardy who should be pushed out together.”

The Tory veteran went on, “What you have is a lot of people now sitting around Rishi Sunak who are giving him appalling advice. Let's start with the head of CFI, who has been for many years Lord Polak. In my view, I think he should be removed from the Lords because he is exercising the interests of another country, not that of the parliament in which he sits, joined, I have to say, by Lord Pickles. They’re the sort of the Laurel and Hardy who should be pushed out together.”

Alan, who left parliament in 2019, said some senior Tories had not condemned the settlements in Israel: “There are a lot of people at the top of our own politics who refuse to condemn the settlements and therefore are not supporters of international law.”

“And I think the time has come to flush out those extremists in our own parliamentary politics and around it, some of whom are at the very top of government or have been and they have never been called to account by journalists and the press to say: well do you agree with your own party’s policy, do you condemn illegal settlements?”

Alan said the “top” of government had been “slightly improved by the removal of Robert Jenrick and Suella Braverman.”

He accused Braverman of supporting "the annihilation of people in Gaza” and claimed: "she does not believe that settlements are wrong, nor, I suspect, do Michael Gove, Oliver Dowden, and Priti Patel.”

He called for Priti Patel to be “reinvestigated” for her visit to Israel.

“We still don’t know who paid for her trip when she came back and tried to change government policy as a result of going on a secret trip without actually telling her officials or even the local ambassadors,” Alan went on.

The former Tory MP then took aim at security minister Tom Tugendhat and read part of a Wikipedia entry that claimed the minister “condemned the United Nations National Security Council for its official criticism of Israel's building settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.”

“How can you have a security minister in the British government who does not believe in international law? I think he should be sacked,” Alan concluded.

Several Tory figures were not surprised by Alan's comments and pointed out that the former MP has a history of anti-Israel comments.

In his criticism of Alan’s rant, Conservative MP Andrew Percy said “Alan Duncan is a ridiculous character whose ramblings would be laughable if they were not so dangerous.

“At a time of record antisemitism in the UK, to pull out a Jewish parliamentarian and accuse him of pushing the interests of Israel, not only plays into antisemitic tropes it risks fuelling further Jew hate on our streets.

“Coupled with the attack on Lord Pickles, who is internationally respected for his work on post-Holocaust issues, these are clearly the ramblings of somebody with significant issues.

“Coming at a time of rising extremism and threats to parliamentarians they are also reckless and dangerous.

“Parliamentarians have a right to stand up for Israel and in opposition to the rape and murder death cult of Hamas and other Islamist terror groups without being singled out for offensive and false attacks and accusations.

“Many of us are proud to stand firm in supporting Israel in its fight against the rape and murder death cult that attacked civilians in their homes on October 7th. We are proud to stand in support of the Middle East's only democratic state and against Iranian-backed terror groups who want to destroy not just Israel but our liberal democratic way of life too.

"Its also interesting and concerning that Alan Duncan pulled out Conservative Friends of Israel for special treatment and not Conservative Friends of India or of Cyprus, just the friendship group for the world's only Jewish state,” Percy said.

Board of Deputies spokesperson said: "The comments by Sir Alan Duncan effectively accuse two Conservative Peers, one of whom is Jewish, of dual loyalties. This is disgraceful; we understand the Conservatives have opened an investigation into Sir Alan's conduct, and we believe the Party should consider whether his position as a Party member is tenable."

The Jewish Leadership Council said: “Calling into question the loyalty of a Jewish Peer was just one example of the antisemitic tropes shared by Sir Alan Duncan this morning on LBC. We have raised this matter with the Conservative Party.”

JC columnist Kate Maltby said Alan's comments represented "an old antisemitic trope rooted in double standards" when he accused Jewish politicians of serving the "interests of another country."

A spokesperson for CFI said: “CFI is not affiliated to any political party in Israel. We enjoy cordial relations across the political spectrum in Israel. We support the Conservative Government in its aim of a two-state solution and a peaceful resolution in the Middle East conflict.”

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