Lord Mann praised as ‘great servant’ to community amid government sacking claims

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Lord Mann praised as ‘great servant’ to community amid government sacking claims

Former JLC chair Jonathan Goldstein among those to praise Lord Mann's work after a report claimed the government has discussed replacing him as independent adviser on antisemitism

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

John Mann speaks at the 2019 CST annual dinner
John Mann speaks at the 2019 CST annual dinner

Lord John Mann has been widely praised for his record of defending the community’s best interests in his role as the government’s independent antisemitism adviser amid claims he faces the sack. 

Senior communal figures, including former Jewish Leadership Council chair Jonathan Goldstein, said the peer had proved himself to be a “great servant” to British Jewry, after LBC reported there were discussions within government about ousting the longstanding campaigner in favour of a new independent adviser.

Mann had been appointed into the newly created role under former prime minister Theresa May’s leadership in 2019, following recommendations, including from the late former Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks.

Asked to comment on claims the former Labour MP was now set to be ousted in the role when his current five year term ends in July, Downing Street told Jewish News “no decision” had been made.

Jonathan Goldstein, photo credit: Grainge Photography

But in a staunch defence of Mann’s performance in the role, ex-JLC head Goldstein, said: “Lord Mann’s track record as a great servant and staunch ally of the Jewish community speaks for itself.

“His work combatting antisemitic hatred in universities, schools, and in sport has proved to be hugely effective.”

Goldstein,  chief exec of investment firm Cain International, and a director and co-owner of Chelsea FC, added:”In the aftermath of the 7 October Hamas terror atrocity and the shocking increase in antisemitic incidents in the UK now is not the time for change.

“Our community more than ever needs stability, continuity and the ally ship that Lord Mann has shown in this role.”

In January prime minister Rishi Sunak had himself; openly praised Lord Mann’s work in the Commons as he discussed ways to combat rising anti Jewish hate on university campuses.

When Jewish News spoke with Keir Starmer recently about his vision for the independent adviser on antisemitism role if he was in No.10, the Labour leader said he would “enhance” the post, as the fight against antisemitism was so crucial to him.

But Jewish News understands that some in government had reacted negatively after Mann criticised former home secretary Suella Braverman over her an alleged failure to take on board his recommendations over combating antisemitism.

Ken Livingstone confronted by Labour MP John Mann after making his controversial remarks about Hitler

More recently, Mann has expressed concerns over the impact on the community over calls to ban pro-Palestine marches, rather than creating the conditions for effective policing of any antisemitism on display.

Mike Katz, national chair of the Jewish Labour Movement also raised concern about any move to oust Mann.

He said: “When antisemitism in Britain is at an all time high it is really concerning that the government is prevaricating over the reappointment of Lord Mann.

“He has, by common consent, been really successful in the role, focussing on fighting anti-Jewish hatred in campuses, schools and sport in an inclusive nonpartisan way.”

Andrew Gilbert, co-founder of the London Jewish Forum added: “When we were asked many years ago who would be the best MPto be the new chair of the APPG on antisemitism there were various names mentioned.

“We took great pleasure in adding the name John Mann, who we knew already had more knowledge, and ally ship than anyone in the house.

“We have been delighted how brilliant Lord Mann has been in this role. John and some in our community have been friends for over 40 years and he is today as true and effective as he has ever been for all our community.”

Mann famously clashed with with former London Mayor Ken Livingstone over his comments around Zionism and Hitler.

Before being granted a peerage, he was the Labour Party Member of Parliament for Bassetlaw from the 2001 general election until 2019.

A spokesperson for the Department for Levelling Up and Communities said:”The independent advisor on antisemitism is a critical role that makes a significant contribution. No decisions on the appointment have been made.”

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