John Bercow Makes Statement on Brexit Supporters Calling Anna Soubry a Nazi

Anna Soubry

John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, has made a statement in the Commons following the disruption of a television interview earlier today where Brexit supporters called Anna Soubry “a Nazi”. Bercow said:

“I have indeed been made aware of recent incidents involving aggressive and threatening behaviour towards Members and others by assorted protesters who have donned the yellow vests used in France. When I refer to “recent incidents”, I am more specifically referring to reports I have had of incidents that have taken place today, in all likelihood when many of us, myself included, have been in this Chamber. The House authorities are not technically responsible for the safety of Members off the estate—that is and remains a matter for the Metropolitan police—but naturally, I take this issue very seriously and so, I am sure, do the police, who have been made well aware of our concerns.”

The protesters are also alleged to have said that they hoped Soubry and Kay Burley, a Sky interviewer, were sexually assaulted.

Soubry said during the interview with Burley:

“I don’t have a problem with people demonstrating and making their views heard. I have a real problem with people who call me a traitor or ‘Soubry, you Nazi’. That is a criminal offence and I’m a criminal barrister. I’m also a lass from Worksop, so I don’t get scared by these people or intimidated. I was a reporter during the miners’ strike, so I don’t feel physically intimidated. My difficulty is I want to respond and you mustn’t, so I’m really behaving myself.”

Calls for Boris Johnson to be Suspended from Conservative Party

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has today faced growing calls for Boris Johnson, the former Foreign Secretary, to be suspended from the Conservative Party over a newspaper article which has been called islamophobic.

Dominic Grieve, the former Attorney General, said that he would quit the Conservative Party if Johnson became the party’s leader. Brandon Lewis, the Conservative Party chairman, and Theresa May have both called for Johnson to apologise for his newspaper article, which he has refused to do.

Baroness Warsi, a former Conservative Cabinet Minister, who wrote:

“He set out a liberal position, but he did it in a very “alt-right” way. This allowed him to dog-whistle: to say to particular elements of the party that he’s tough on Muslims. Yet again, he’s trying to have his cake and eat it”.

Brandon Lewis is expected to make a decision later on in the week on what, if any, action should be taken on Johnson.

Ken Livingstone Quits Labour Party

Ken Livingstone, the former Mayor of London, has quit the Labour Party following on-going disciplinary action. Livingstone said that he did not though accept comments he made were anti-semitic, although he apologised for any offence caused.

Livingstone said in a statement:

“After much consideration, I have decided to resign from the Labour Party.

The ongoing issues around my suspension from the Labour Party have become a distraction from the key political issue of our time – which is to replace a Tory government overseeing falling living standards and spiralling poverty, while starving our schools and the NHS of the vital resources they need.

We live in dangerous times and there are many issues I wish to speak up on and contribute my experience from running London… from the need for real action to tackle climate change, to opposing Trump’s war-mongering, to the need to end austerity and invest in our future here in Britain.

I do not accept the allegation that I have brought the Labour Party into disrepute – nor that I am in any way guilty of anti-Semitism. I abhor anti-Semitism, I have fought it all my life and will continue to do so.

I also recognise that the way I made a historical argument has caused offence and upset in the Jewish community. I am truly sorry for that.

Under Labour’s new general secretary I am sure there will be rapid action to expel anyone who genuinely has anti-Semitic views. I am loyal to the Labour Party and to Jeremy Corbyn. However any further disciplinary action against me may drag on for months or even years, distracting attention from Jeremy’s policies.

I am therefore, with great sadness, leaving the Labour Party.

We desperately need an end to Tory rule, and a Corbyn-led government to transform Britain and end austerity. I will continue to work to this end, and I thank all those who share this aim and who have supported me in my own political career”.

Livingstone’s decision comes two weeks after Shami Chakrabarti, the Shadow Attorney General, said that he should be expelled following his comments and behaviour. She said:

“It is very difficult to see that any rational decision-maker in the light of what has happened in the last two years could find a place for Mr Livingstone in our party at this moment”.

Marc Wadsworth Expelled by Labour Party

Marc Wadsworth has been expelled from the Labour Party after it was agreed by the National Constitutional Committee that he had brought the party into disrepute. Wadsworth had caused Ruth Smeeth, the Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, to be reduced to tears after he had accused her of working with the Daily Telegraph.

Smeeth said in a statement:

“Abuse, bullying and intimidation have no place in our movement, as today’s announcement has proven. I hope that this decision represents the first step towards a return to the values of decency and respect throughout the Labour Party”.

Wadsworth rejected the party’s decision, saying:

“We all know that there’s been a concerted effort by disgruntled elements within the parliamentary Labour Party that will simply not accept Jeremy Corbyn as their leader”.

Christine Shawcroft Plunges Labour into New Anti-Semitism Crisis

Christine Shawcroft, a member of the Labour’s governing National Executive Committee, has plunged the party into a new anti-semitism crisis after she has refused to stand down after backing a Holocaust denier party member. Shawcroft stood down from her disciplinary role on the committee, but has refused to resign from it.

Around 40 Labour MPs and Peers have today responded by writing a letter to Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, calling for Shawcroft to be suspended from the party pending an investigation. Some of the signatories of the letter are members of the Shadow Ministerial team, including Mike Kane, Jonathan Reynolds and Lord Hunt.

Corbyn has yet to comment on the letter, but John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor, said that the leadership would not intervene, saying “it’s an elected position and it’s up to the electorate to decide if she should be elected again”.

When standing down from the disciplinary role Shawcroft said that she hadn’t been aware of the situation when she called for the candidate to be reinstated and she said in a statement:

“I have decided to stand down as Chair of the Disputes Panel to ensure my wrong and misguided questions on this case do not cause doubt or anxiety about our processes. We must eliminate anti-Semitism from our party and wider society. To do this we must make sure our processes are as robust as possible and have the faith and confidence of our members”.

Jeremy Corbyn Faces Criticism From Jewish Groups Over Anti-Semitism

A letter written by the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Jewish Leadership Council has criticised Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, for failing to tackle the problems of anti-semitism. The letter comes ahead of a protest march which is planned for later today in Parliament Square in London.

In a statement the organisations wrote:

“Today, leaders of British Jewry tell Jeremy Corbyn that enough is enough. We have had enough of hearing that Jeremy Corbyn “opposes anti-Semitism”, whilst the mainstream majority of British Jews, and their concerns, are ignored by him and those he leads.

There is a repeated institutional failure to properly address Jewish concerns and to tackle anti-Semitism, with the Chakrabarti Report being the most glaring example of this.

Jeremy Corbyn did not invent this form of politics, but he has had a lifetime within it, and now personifies its problems and dangers. He issues empty statements about opposing anti-Semitism, but does nothing to understand or address it. We conclude that he cannot seriously contemplate anti-Semitism, because he is so ideologically fixed within a far left worldview that is instinctively hostile to mainstream Jewish communities.

When Jews complain about an obviously anti-Semitic mural in Tower Hamlets, Corbyn of course supports the artist. Hizbollah commits terrorist atrocities against Jews, but Corbyn calls them his friends and attends pro-Hizbollah rallies in London. Exactly the same goes for Hamas. Raed Salah says Jews kill Christian children to drink their blood. Corbyn opposes his extradition and invites him for tea at the House of Commons. These are not the only cases. He is repeatedly found alongside people with blatantly anti-Semitic views, but claims never to hear or read them.

Again and again, Jeremy Corbyn has sided with anti-Semites rather than Jews. At best, this derives from the far left’s obsessive hatred of Zionism, Zionists and Israel. At worst, it suggests a conspiratorial worldview in which mainstream Jewish communities are believed to be a hostile entity, a class enemy.

When Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party, Jews expressed sincere and profound fears as to how such politics would impact upon their wellbeing. Our concerns were never taken seriously. Three years on, the party and British Jews are reaping the consequences.

Routine statements against anti-Semitism “and all forms of racism” get nowhere near dealing with the problem, because what distinguishes anti-Semitism from other forms of racism is the power that Jews are alleged to hold, and how they are charged with conspiring together against what is good.

This is not only historic, or about what Jeremy Corbyn did before being party leader. It is also utterly contemporary. There is literally not a single day in which Labour Party spaces, either online or in meetings, do not repeat the same fundamental anti-Semitic slanders against Jews. We are told that our concerns are faked, and done at the command of Israel and/or Zionism (whatever that means); that anti-Semitism is merely “criticism of Israel”; that we call any and all criticism of Israel “anti-Semitic”; that the Rothschilds run the world; that Isis terrorism is a fake front for Israel; that Zionists are the new Nazis; and that Zionists collaborate with Nazis.

Rightly or wrongly, Jeremy Corbyn is now the figurehead for an anti-Semitic political culture, based on obsessive hatred of Israel, conspiracy theories and fake news that is doing dreadful harm to British Jews and to the British Labour Party.

Jeremy Corbyn is the only person with the power to demand that it stops. Enough is enough”.

Jonathan Goldstein, the Chairman of the Jewish Leadership Council, said:

“This is the first time in my life time that the Jewish community has felt the need to take to the streets to campaign against the leader of a major political party. Rightly or wrongly Jeremy Corbyn is now the figurehead for an antisemitic political culture based upon obsessive hatred of Israel, conspiracy theories and fake news and that is doing great harm not just to the Labour party but to Britain in a wider sense”.

Jeremy Corbyn said on Twitter:

“Labour is an anti-racist party and I utterly condemn antisemitism, which is why as leader of the Labour Party I want to be clear that I will not tolerate any form of antisemitism that exists in and around our movement”.

Jeremy Corbyn Criticised for Anti-Semitic Comments

Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, has been criticised for anti-semitism after he called for a mural to be kept which was anti-semitic. The mural, entitled ‘Freedom of Humanity’, was removed from East London in 2012.

At the time Corbyn had posted on Facebook referring to its removal:

“Why? You are in good company. Rockerfeller [sic] destroyed Diego Viera’s mural because it includes a picture of Lenin”.

Luciana Berger, the Labour MP for Liverpool Wavertree, had earlier said on Twitter:

“I asked the Leader’s Office for an explanation about this Facebook post first thing this morning. I’m still waiting for a response”.

After being asked about his comments Corbyn said:

“I sincerely regret that I did not look more closely at the image I was commenting on, the contents of which are deeply disturbing and anti-Semitic”.

Berger responded by saying that Corbyn’s response had been “wholly inadequate”.

Ian Austin, the Labour MP for Dudley North, also criticised his leader, saying:

“Jeremy would never have defended racist imagery aimed at any other group”.

Prime Minister Condemns Comments Made by Toby Young

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, has joined in the criticism of comments made by Toby Young but confirmed he will keep his role as a board member of the Office for Students.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show the Prime Minister said:

“Toby Young has done exceedingly good work in relation to free schools. And that’s what led to him being appointed to the office for students. When he was appointed I was not aware of these comments that he had made. Frankly I’m not at all impressed by those comments. He’s now in public office
and as far as I’m concerned if he was to continue to use that sort
of language and talk in that sort of way he would no longer be in
public office”.

Two Labour politicians called for Young to be sacked, with Dawn Butler and Angela Rayner saying:

“The virulence of Mr Young’s misogyny is disturbing; furthermore, he has offered no apology for his remarks”.

Conservative Party Restores the Whip to Anne Marie Morris

The Conservative Party has restored the whip to Anne Marie Morris, the MP for Newton Abbot since 2010, who was suspended from the party following comments made in a speech.

Morris said in a statement:

“I have learned from this experience and have a new determination to uphold the highest possible standards in public life. I feel proud and privileged to be a member of parliament and I will continue to serve my community and my country to the best of my ability”.

Jared O’Mara Suspended by the Labour Party as MP is Hit by a Series of Allegations

Jared O’Mara, the newly elected MP for Sheffield Hallam, has been suspended from the Labour Party following a series of racist, homophobic and sexist comments made before he was elected. It has been alleged that O’Mara did not draw the party’s attention to these comments before being selected for the seat, with further allegations made about his recent conduct.

John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, said that a number of Labour MPs had defended O’Mara until further revelations had been uncovered. McDonnell said:

“New information has come to light, so quite rightly the Labour Party has acted swiftly. He’s been suspended, the whip has been withdrawn”.

The Liberal Democrats have confirmed that they are selecting a candidate in case O’Mara is forced to resign from his role as an MP.

Lucy Powell, the Labour MP for Manchester Central, questioned whether O’Mara had lied to the party before seeking election as an MP. Speaking to ITV she said:

“One of the key questions you are asked when you become a candidate for the Labour Party — and you have to sign a contract to say this — is there anything in your past that would bring the party into disrepute? And I don’t understand how in all honesty Jared could have signed that paper”.