Outrage after local Labour group passes motion praising Ken Loach

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Outrage after local Labour group passes motion praising Ken Loach

Exclusive: Pro-Corbyn members of Hornsey and Wood Green CLP who tabled two votes praising the director accused of 'wanting to take the party back down into the sewers."

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Film director Ken Loach 

Photo credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire
Film director Ken Loach Photo credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire

Pro-Jeremy Corbyn members of Hornsey and Wood Green Labour party have sparked renewed outrage amongst Jewish members after passing a motion praising the director Ken Loach and calling for public screenings of his films to take place locally.

Meanwhile a second motion, also voted through at Wednesday’s CLP meeting, claimed Labour under Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership had become a “hostile environment” as a result of the “expulsions of prominent socialists.”

One member of the CLP, which has long suffered with issues relating to the Labour antisemitism crisis, accused the 60 or so activists who backed the motions of “wanting to take the party back down into the sewers.”

Another, said the hard-left faction, who were opposed by around 40 members at the meeting, had “managed to turn themselves into a laughing stock.”

The pro-Loach motion had been proposed by the television actress Margot Leicester, a member of the Stroud Green branch, who had appeared in the BBC2 drama King Charles III, playing Camilla.

Her motion said Loach was one of “the finest British film directors” who has “inspired people who believe in a progressive society.”

It added:”Films from ‘Cathy Come Home’ to ‘I Daniel Blake’ have united and inspired all wings of the Labour Party to fight for a more just society.

” We ask the CLP to screen his films in different parts of the constituency, open to party members and the public. The aim is to combine a social occasion, with education and possible fund raising.”

Loach was expelled from Labour earlier this year over his support for the Labour Against The Witchhunt group, set up to deny or downplay allegations of antisemitism in the party.

He has also courted controversy for saying in response to questions about Holocaust denial that “history is for us all to discuss”.
He claimed there was “no validity” to accusations of antisemitism within Labour and insisted they were designed to undermine Corbyn’s leadership.
In 2018 he called for the deselection of Labour MPs who attended the Enough is Enough protest against antisemitism.
Around 100 members of the CLP attended Wednesday’s meeting, which took place on Zoom.

Tensions rose over claims the meetings chair allowed three speakers to explain why they were supporting the pro-Loach motion, while only one speaker was allowed to speak against.

The chair refused discussion of Loach and antisemitism associations.

The second motion, again passed by a 60-40 majority, said:”This branch deplores the current climate within the party, leading to the loss of up to 150,000 members.

“This includes the expulsion of prominent socialists, and resignations of those disillusioned and angered by these attacks.

” Party discipline is being conducted without proper process or fairness, with new rules applied retrospectively. ”

It also said:” Authoritarian purges combined with a policy and values vacuum have left previously enthusiastic members feeling attacked, demotivated, and reluctant to campaign for the Party.   These factional and anti-democratic actions are clearly intended to create a hostile environment for socialists, and make a mockery of the Party’s avowedly democratic socialist values.  ”

Jewish News has contacted Labour and Hornsey and Wood Green CLP for comment.


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