MP Louise Ellman quits Labour saying Corbyn shouldn't be PM

16 October 2019, 22:13

Dame Ellman quit the Labour Party on Wednesday
Dame Ellman quit the Labour Party on Wednesday. Picture:

By Asher McShane

Labour MP Louise Ellman has announced she is quitting the party, saying she does not believe Jeremy Corbyn is fit to lead the nation.

The 73-year-old Jewish MP said she "can no longer advocate voting Labour when it risks Corbyn becoming PM".

She criticised Labour's record on dealing with complaints of anti-Semitism in a scathing resignation letter, writing: "Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, antisemitism has become mainstream in the Labour Party.

"Jewish members have been bullied, abused and driven out.”

The MP for Liverpool Riverside said she will not be joining another party.

The move prompted tributes from her former colleagues, with Harriet Harman describing it as "very sad news".

"Thank you, Louise, for your terrific contribution to Parliament, politics and the Labour Party!" she tweeted.

Former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron tweeted: "I've known Louise for 30 years.

"She was a supremely competent leader of Lancashire County Council, a skilful opponent and utterly dedicated to the Labour movement.

"If there's no place for Louise Ellman in the 2019 Labour Party, they are finished as a serious force."

In Ms Ellman's resignation letter, she wrote: "I have been a member for 55 years and a public representative in local and central government continuously since 1970. My decision has been truly agonising, as it has been for the thousands of other party members who have already left.

"I will not join any other party. I hope that under different leadership I will be able to return to my political home. I would like to thank the overwhelming majority of Labour MPs who have fought Labour's antisemitism valiantly and the Co-operative Party who have taken a firm and unequivocal stance against this racism. I would also like to applaud the integrity of those local members who have continued to speak out.

"I believe that Jeremy Corbyn is not fit to serve as our Prime Minister. With a looming general election and the possibility of him becoming Prime Minister, I feel I have to take a stand. I cannot advocate a government led by Jeremy Corbyn.

"Under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, antisemitism has become mainstream in the Labour Party. Jewish members have been bullied, abused and driven out. Antisemites have felt comfortable and vile conspiracy theories have been propagated. A party that permits anti-Jewish racism to flourish cannot be called anti-racist.

"This is not compatible with the Labour Party's values of equality, tolerance and respect for minorities. Shamefully, its anti-Jewish racism is now being investigated by one of the last labour government's proudest creations, the Equality and Human Rights Commission."

A Labour Party spokesperson said: "Jeremy Corbyn thanks Louise Ellman for her service to the Labour Party over many years.

"Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party are fully committed to the support, defence and celebration of the Jewish community and continue to take robust action to root out anti-Semitism in the party and wider society.

"Jeremy Corbyn has consistently supported struggles for human rights and justice around the world and made the right calls in the interests of security and peace."