Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer has told the UK Jewish hustings, organised by the Board of Deputies, of his “pain” over the discussion of antisemitism in the Labour Party.
At the packed event in central London on Sunday, which was partnered by the JC, Sir Keir said: “It pains me there’s a discussion about antisemitism in my party – Ken Livingstone should have been expelled.” He added that Labour policy was to oppose boycotts, adding “The Labour Party is against boycotts – and I am against boycotts.”
Sir Keir was responding to a claim by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid that Labour would implement boycotts against Israel if elected. He said: “Jeremy Corbyn has said when asked about the BDS campaign – and I quote: ‘BDS is part and parcel of a process to be adopted.’”
Mr Javid was himself attacked on the government’s record on allowing in refugees following Lord Dubs’ Refugees Amendment. Sir Keir said that it was “disgraceful” that the government had failed to implement a pledge to allow 3,000 refugees into the UK.
Baroness Ludford , Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Exiting the EU spoke of her party’s commitment to fighting antisemitism on the far right and among Islamists, and pointed to decisive action taken by party leader Tim Farron against Jenny Tonge and David Ward.
Kirsten Oswald, speaking for the SNP, spoke of the importance of “cementing the relationships between all of our communities in Scotland”.
The panel, chaired by Board of Deputies Chief Executive Gillian Merron, also answered questions on their parties’ positions on human rights and on the housing shortage.
Gillian said: “We were delighted to bring together an impressive panel of senior politicians from the main political parties. There was a real buzz in the room as the event drew a big audience from across the UK and robust debate ensured candidates left with little doubt as to the commitment of the community to the main issues of the day.”
Photo: (left to right) Gillian Merron, Sir Keir Starmer, Baroness Ludford, Jonathan Arkush, Sajid Javid and Kirsten Oswald
Photographer: John Rifkin