BBC London leads its news broadcasts with call by JVL for Diane Abbott to be reinstated

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BBC London leads its news broadcasts with call by JVL for Diane Abbott to be reinstated

JLM national secretary Adam Langleben, says decision by BBC London to lead its news bulletins on Diane Abbott's suspension with a statement from the disgraced JVL group displays a 'profound level of ignorance'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

BBC London News presenter leads bulletin with JVL statement on Diane Abbott
BBC London News presenter leads bulletin with JVL statement on Diane Abbott

BBC London News sparked widespread outrage after electing to lead its morning bulletins with a call from the disgraced Jewish Voice For Labour group for Diane Abbott to be reinstated as a Labour MP.

In news broadcasts on Monday presenter Victoria Cook’s first item saw her stating: “Jewish Voice For Labour has criticised the suspension of the MP Diane Abbott over her comments on racism in The Observer…

“Jewish Voice for Labour has said her suspension is yet a further attack on our freedom to debate very important issues in the party… there are no grounds for suspension.”

The group was formed to defend Jeremy Corbyn over allegations of antisemitism in Labour, and numerous JVL members, including co-founder Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, have subsequently been expelled or suspended from the party.

The decision to lead a BBC News programme with a statement by the JVL over Abbott’s suspension as a Labour MP, for her Observer letter suggesting that Jewish, Irish and Traveller people were not subject to racism “all their lives”, was widely condemned on Monday.

Adam Langleben, national secretary of the Jewish Labour Movement told Jewish News: “It demonstrates a profound level of ignorance on BBC London News that they saw fit to platform this AstroTurf group consisting of maybe a few hundred people out of a community more than 280,000, or even JLM with 4000 members.

“This group has consistently downplayed or dismissed real accusations of antisemitism. They have defended antisemites. They have platformed holocaust revisionists. And most of their leadership have now been rightly expelled from the Labour Party. They are apologists for anti-Jewish racism and our national broadcaster knows this because we have told them on countless occasions.”

Another viewer tweeted:”Jewish Voice for Labour does not represent the mainstream of Jews in Labour and definitely not in our community.”

In a statement a BBC spokesperson told Jewish News:“Since this story broke we have used a wide range of contributors on BBC London and across BBC News.

“We have had reaction from Dianne Abbott’s constituents alongside interviews with London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, and Fiona Sharpe from Labour Against Antisemitism, who are both in support of Labour’s decision to suspend Ms Abbott.

“As the story develops we are continuing to use a diverse of range views, including other London MPs, the Campaign Against Antisemitism, and voices from the travelling community. The topic of Nicky Campbell’s 5 Live phone-in today asked ‘how antisemitic is the UK?’.

“The BBC is fully committed to representing all views in this debate.”

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