Tory MP condemned for using ‘cultural Marxism’ slur in conference speech

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Tory MP condemned for using ‘cultural Marxism’ slur in conference speech

Lord Mann, the government's adviser on antisemitism, says it was 'not appropriate' was Miriam Cates to use term associated with antisemitism is her speech at the Nat Con conference

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Tory MP Miriam Cates speaks at the Nat Con conference using the term 'cultural Marxism'
Tory MP Miriam Cates speaks at the Nat Con conference using the term 'cultural Marxism'

A Conservative MP has been accused of using a term associated with “antisemitism” at the start of a political conference in London.

Miriam Cates, the MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, told the National Conservatism conference that “cultural Marxism” is “destroying our children’s souls”.

Lord Mann, the government’s independent adviser of antisemitism, told Jewish News that it was “just not appropriate for a parliamentarian to be using a term such as this.”

Asked if he would associate the term “cultural Marxism” with antisemitic discourse, Lord Mann added:”It is antisemitism .”

In her speech Cates kicked off the conference on Monday by claiming young people were being deprived of bright futures.

She said:”“That hope is sadly diminishing in so many of our young people today, because liberal individualism has proven to be completely powerless to resist the cultural Marxism that is systematically destroying our children’s souls.

“When culture, schools and universities openly teach that our country is racist, our heroes are villains, humanity is killing the Earth, you are what you desire, diversity is theology, boundaries are tyranny and self-restraint is oppression, is it any wonder that mental health conditions, self-harm and suicide, and epidemic levels of anxiety and confusion characterise the emerging generation?”

Labour’s Dame Margaret Hodge also criticised Cates over her use of language.

She told Jewish News:”It shows what a long journey we still have to travel, when MPs such as this can make such thoughtless contributions which are indeed offensive to Jewish people.”

But Yoram Hazony, one of the organisers of the Nat Con conference, later told Jewish News:”I deplore this attempt to smear a friend of the Jews such as Miriam Cates with the utterly preposterous accusation of antisemitism.

“The term ‘cultural Marxism is an apt phrase to describe the cultural agenda promoted by many on the left today. The Edmond Burke Foundation offers no platform to antisemites. We are proud to number Cates among our friends and speakers.”

Lord Mann delivers recent speech on antisemitism in football to anti-racism charity Kick It Out

Home Secretary Suella Braverman is also due to speak at the Nat Con conference on Monday afternoon, having herself previously been criticised by the Board of Deputies and other Jewish groups for her own  use of the term “cultural Marxism” in speeches.

The term centres on a conspiracy theory that Christian and Conservative values within Western society have been undermined by the theories of a niche group of Marxist, and largely Jewish, inter-war German scholars. 

The phrase has been circulated among far-Right groups in the US since the 1990s and was later cited in the manifesto of far-Right terrorist and mass murder Anders Behring Breivik.

The Board urged Braverman to clarify what she meant when she used the term “cultural Marxism” on more than one occasion.

At the time, in 2019, Labour MP Wes Streeting also said Braverman should apologise for using an “ugly and reprehensible term with antisemitic connotations”. 

He added: “Members of parliament should know better and she should apologise immediately or the whip should be removed.”

Hope Not Hate, which monitors far-right groups, said it was “deeply disturbing” to see an MP use such language.

Elsewhere in her speech Cates said western countries faced an existential threat from falling reproduction, arguing that a lack of family-friendly tax policy in the UK played a significant role, as well as a shortage of housing.

Braverman is due to warn in Monday’s speech that immigration to the UK must come down, claiming we need an economy “less dependent” on foreign labour.

More recently the home secretary  referred to migrants arriving in the UK after crossing the English Channel in small boats as an “invasion”, leading to criticism from charities and MPs.

Suella Braverman in the Commons

Amongst the organisers of the Nat Con conference is the Israeli-American think-tank activist Yoram Hazony who used his speech on Monday to berate the “woke Neo Marxist” activists he blamed for dragging the UK downwards.

In 2020, the Nat Con conference was hosted by Hungary with speakers including speakers included the east European country’s far-right prime minister, Viktor Orbán, Italian leaders closely associated with Benito Mussolini’s fascism, and a member of the Le Pen family.

The MP Daniel Kawczynski was reprimanded for speaking at the event, following complaints from both the Board and the all-party group on antisemitism.

Also speaking on Monday, at the current Nat Con conference was former Brexit secretary Jacob Rees Mogg.

His speech was interrupted by a protester who asked the audience if they were familiar with the “characteristics of fascism” before he was escorted from the stage.

Gary Mond, head of the National Jewish Assembly, claimed the expression “cultural Marxism” should not always be seen as “antisemitic.”

He added:”What matters is the context in. which it is used and there’s very clear from Miriam Cates’s speech there is no hatred of Jews implied at all.”

But the Antisemitism Policy Trust’s Danny Stone said:”MPs were sent a briefing on the phrase ‘Cultural Marxism’. It goes into detail on the provenance and use of the phrase. It is best avoided. There’s little excuse.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: