McDonnell-backed parliamentary candidate denies antisemitism vote dodge

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McDonnell-backed parliamentary candidate denies antisemitism vote dodge

Labour's parliamentary candidate for Harrow East denied avoiding voting on a motion about antisemitism in the party.

Pamela Fitzpatrick / Twitter
Pamela Fitzpatrick / Twitter

A Labour parliamentary candidate in Harrow has denied accusations she deliberately left her council chamber at the moment of a decisive motion to avoid voting on the issue of antisemitism in the party. 

Councillor Pamela Fitzpatrick, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Harrow East, did not vote on the motion as she left the chamber as the vote was taking place.

Fitzpatrick has denied accusations she deliberately left the council chamber to avoid voting on the motion.

In a comment to Jewish News, she said: “When I left the chamber there was no indication whatsoever that the vote was about to take place.

“I was and am completely supportive of the motion, and I’m glad it was passed unanimously. I wish I’d been able to add my vote in support.”

The motion, proposed and seconded by Conservatives Cllr Paul Osborn and Cllr Marilyn Ashton, said: “All forms of racism and antisemitism should be condemned.

“We should stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our Jewish community to drive out the scourge of antisemitism that has beset Her Majesty’s Opposition.

“This council resolves to instruct the Leader of the Council to write to the Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, calling upon him to take action to ensure antisemitism is taken seriously and properly dealt with in the Labour Party.”

A Jewish Labour Movement source said: “It’s astonishing that someone seeking to be an MP for a constituency that has a large Jewish community thought that a motion condemning antisemitism, which was supported by the Labour Group at Harrow Council, was an appropriate moment to pop to the loo. This is not solidarity.”

Fitzpatrick has the backing of Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, who told Labour members during a meeting that she is “the sort of principled socialist we need in Parliament alongside us.”

McDonnell urged party members to select her as a parliamentary candidate because “she’s the best hope we’ve got of winning this seat and holding it, and having a socialist within Parliament.”

He added: “Jeremy and I would be proud to see Pamelia in Parliament alongside us.

“Proud, but also to be frank, confident that she’d be with us throughout, no matter what happens, and when the tough time comes when we come into government as well.”

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