Ban on groups downplaying antisemitism an ‘outrage’, says Labour branch

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Ban on groups downplaying antisemitism an ‘outrage’, says Labour branch

EXCLUSIVE: Leeds Central Constituency Party overwhelmingly passes text condemning NEC's decision to outlaw groups including Labour Against the Witch-hunt

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer delivers his keynote speech during the party's online conference.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer delivers his keynote speech during the party's online conference.
Labour members in Leeds have voted to defy the party’s leadership by backing a motion that described the decision to ban organisations including those that downplayed or denied antisemitism as an “outrage.”
At a meeting of Leeds Central constituency Labour party (CLP) on Thursday, a vote on a motion that slammed the decision to proscribe the Labour Against The Witch-hunt, Labour In Exile Network, Resist and Socialist Appeal groups was passed by a margin of 20-3.
After the emergency motion – titled Defend the left against all bans and proscriptions – was backed one Leeds Central CLP member told Jewish News there were “fist pumps” to celebrate the move.
“Everyone, barring those who spoke out against this thing, seemed quite pleased with what they had just supported,” said one source.
“There was one, maybe two abstentions over the vote. It wasn’t the most well attended CLP meeting there has been in the area.
“But the vote showed the political mood amongst the vast majority who were there.”
The motion accused Sir Keir Starmer and general secretary David Evans of leading an “ongoing campaign against the left-wing membership.”
It continued:”This CLP believes such McCarthyite methods are being adopted in order to shut out socialists and Marxists from the party.”
It suggested Starmer’s “purge of the left” was an attempt to “reverse left wing policies brought in when Jeremy Corbyn was leader.”
The motion added:”This CLP demands that all proscriptions and unjust exclusions are reversed.”
Last week’s meeting of Labour’s national executive committee (NEC) voted overwhelming to proscribe the four organisations.
Labour sources stressed the move was not intended as an anti left wing measures.
They said three of the organisations – LATW, LIEN and Resist – were banned over their attempt to downplay or deny antisemitism in Labour.
Socialist Appeal, a group that describes itself as a Marxist voice of Labour and youth,  was proscribed over its affiliation to the International Marxist Tendency, and had emerged out of a split in the Militant group in the 1990s.
Jewish News has contacted Hilary Benn, the MP for Leeds Central on the decision of the CLP to back the motion opposing proscription of the four groups.

A Labour spokesperson said:“Labour is a broad, welcoming and democratic party and we are committed to ensuring it stays that way.

“The NEC has decided that these organisations are not compatible with Labour’s rules or our aims and values.”

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