Labour investigates claims of ‘antisemitic abuse’ at local branch meeting

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Labour investigates claims of ‘antisemitic abuse’ at local branch meeting

Probe follows calls for local MP Sam Tarry to condemn incident in which young member allegedly subjected to antisemitic abuse and felt 'intimidated and bullied'

Local MP Sam Tarry   (Credit: Twitter)
Local MP Sam Tarry (Credit: Twitter)

Jewish News understands Labour is investigating claims a Labour party member was subjected to antisemitic abuse and bullying at a local meeting.

The incident allegedly occurred during a meeting of Ilford South’s Cranbrook and Valentine branch on Monday after a member opposed a motion critical of the Board of Deputies’ 10-point plan to tackle antisemitism.

Student activist Alex Holmes, 21, lodged an official complaint to the party on Wednesday.

Holmes, who is the vice-chairman of the Ilford South Labour constituency, said he received support from Labour leader and leadership candidates after tweeting about the incident on Monday evening.

Describing the meeting as the worst he had ever attended, he accused members who proposed the motion of using “multiple antisemitic tropes to make their point that the Board of Deputies is a ‘Tory organisation’ ‘illegally interfering in the Labour leadership contest.'”

“Racists of any kind have no place anywhere near the Labour party, nor any other mainstream political party,” he added.

Local councillors in the Redbridge Labour group voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday in favour of an investigation.

The group said they felt “extremely concerned to hear a young party member felt intimidated and bullied” after opposing a motion strongly critical of the Board of Deputies’ 10-point plan to tackle antisemitism, which was released on Sunday.

“In addition we are led to believe antisemitic tropes were directed at the member because of his objection to a motion,” they said.

Ilford South MP Sam Tarry, elected to the seat in December, faced calls this week to condemn the motion and incident. “I always take any allegation of racism extremely seriously,” he wrote on Tuesday.

He added: “I’ve been speaking to members this morning who were in attendance at the local ward branch meeting last night, including the two Jewish members who proposed the motion.

“There are conflicting accounts of what happened and what was said. The allegations are very serious and should be looked at carefully. If any allegation is upheld, there should be absolutely zero tolerance.”

Labour has been approached for comment.

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