Veteran Labour MP John Mann has announced that he is quitting as a Labour MP in disgust over antisemitism in the Party. He will not stand for reelection to the House of Commons at the next election after 18 years on the Labour benches as the MP for Bassetlaw. Instead, he will take up a full-time post as an adviser on antisemitism to the Government.
Speaking to the Sunday Times, Mr Mann was scathing about the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, saying: “The party will not survive the erosion of its principles and its soul by this racist infiltration. Corbyn has given the green light to the antisemites and having done so has sat there and done nothing to turn that round.” On that basis, he said that Mr Corbyn is not “appropriate to be Prime Minister”.
He added: “Every time I go into a meeting with a group of Jewish people, I wince when they raise the issue of the Labour Party and Corbyn. It is impossible to overstate the anger that I have about that…He has not just hijacked my political party; he has hijacked its soul and its ethics. I will never forgive him for that.”
Mr Mann once claimed that Campaign Against Antisemitism “sensationalised” antisemitism when we first began to sound the alarm that British Jews were questioning their future in the UK, but as he has become increasingly exposed to the problem, he has come to accept that we were right, telling the Sunday Times: “The mass growth of antisemitism is driving many Jewish people to question whether they have a future in this country. There are people I have known for most of my life who are leaving the country because they don’t think this is a safe haven for them. People don’t talk about it but there is a feeling that people didn’t flee fast enough before and they don’t want to take any risks. This is the country that more than any other stood up to the Nazis, so the idea that it isn’t a safe haven for Jewish people contradicts everything from the war effort.”
In his new role based at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Mr Mann says that he will “hold internet companies, universities and others better to account and every single political party bar none”. He explained: “My one aim in this role is to turn around that situation so that Jewish teenagers know that their future is safe in this country if they wish it to be, and that there will be no impingement in any way on them and their freedoms — be it the universities they chose, the job they chose to go into, where they live, what they wear or how they live, which is a big bold objective.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism commends Mr Mann for his longstanding support for the Jewish community and outspoken stance against antisemitism in the Labour Party. It shames the Labour Party that one of its longstanding MPs is now leaving the House of Commons, in addition to the eleven MPs and three peers who have resigned from the Party over antisemitism in recent months, along with a large number of MEPs, councillors and members.
On 28th May, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a full statutory investigation following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
Over 55,000 people have now signed our petition denouncing Jeremy Corbyn as an antisemite and declaring him “unfit to hold any public office.”