Veteran Jewish MP Dame Louise Ellman has resigned her membership of the Labour Party after 55 years.
The Liverpool Riverside MP quit on Wednesday evening, taking to Twitter to post a statement, which said leader Jeremy Corbyn is “not fit to stand as our Prime Minister”.
Dame Louise, an MP since 1997, said she would not join another political party and hoped to return to Labour under a different leadership.
She said: “I have made the truly agonising decision to leave the Labour Party after 55 years.
“I can no longer advocate voting Labour when it risks Corbyn becoming PM.
“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.”
The MP had been due this week to face so-called “trigger” ballots which had the potential to lead to her deselection as a candidate at the next election.
On antisemitism, she added: “Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, antisemitism has become mainstream in the Labour Party. Jewish members have been bullied, abused and driven out.
“The Labour Party is no longer a safe place for Jews and Jeremy Corbyn must bear the responsibility for this.”
Labour said it would “continue to take robust action to root out antisemitism in the party and wider society”.
I have made the truly agonising decision to leave the Labour Party after 55 years. I can no longer advocate voting Labour when it risks Corbyn becoming PM. I will continue to serve the people of Liverpool Riverside as I have had the honour to do since 1997. pic.twitter.com/3BTzUacZvo
— Louise Ellman MP (@LouiseEllman) October 16, 2019
Read her statement in full below:
“I have this evening resigned from the Labour Party. 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 Mimster. 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.
“Jeremy Corbyn – who spent three decades on the backbenches consorting with, and never confronting, antisemites, Holocaust deniers and terrorists – has attracted the support of too many antisemites.
“The Labour Party is no longer a safe place for Jews and Jeremy Corbyn must bear the responsibility for this. We cannot allow him to do to the country what he has done to the Labour Party.
“The overwhelming majority of the Jewish community is fearful of what a Corbyn government might mean for Britain’s Jews. I share those concerns. But this issue is not simply about the Jewish community. This is about the nature of our society. Jeremy Corbyn’s seeming tolerance of antisemitism would embolden racists, poison our public debate and damage the social cohesion of our country.
“My values – traditional Labour values – have remained the same. It is Labour, under Jeremy Corbyn, that has changed. He has presided over a culture of hatred, fear and intolerance in the Labour Party.
“But this issue is no longer just about the Labour Party – it is about the threat a Jeremy Corbyn premiership could pose to the country.”