Last week, Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) voted to proscribe Labour Against the Witchhunt – an antisemitism-denial group – and the disgraced former Labour MP Chris Williamson’s Resist group, as well as two further far-left groups, paving the way for automatic expulsion of their members.
It is understood that the NEC members to have voted against proscribing Labour Against the Witchhunt were Laura Pidcock, a pro-Corbyn former MP who recently spoke at an anti-Israel rally that featured antisemitic chanting; Yasmine Dar, the Corbyn-backed chair of the NEC’s disputes panel who previously claimed that the Party did not have a problem of institutional antisemitism even as her brother was suspended over antisemitism allegations; Gemma Bolton; Nadia Jama; Mish Rahman; Jayne Taylor; Andy Kerr; Mick Whelan; Andy Fox; and Ian Murray.
They also reportedly released a statement claiming that the proscriptions represented “a continuation of the destructive, factional behaviours from the leadership of the Party which have marked the last year. This isn’t just about the organisations we are being asked to consider [at the NEC meeting] on Tuesday it is about setting a precedent; proscribing these organisations as a forerunner to proscription of more and more groupings on the left of the party, to ultimately expel large sections of the Labour left.”
Following the proscription, there are reports that Labour Against the WItchhunt members are considering setting up their own political party. Over the weekend, some of the group’s members met for a virtual meeting during which they apparently also claimed that the “biggest party in Britain today is the ex-Labour Party. People who’ve been expelled, people who’ve been suspended.”
Labour Against the Witchhunt has previously said that it intends to hold an event in Brighton during the Labour Party conference in the city in late September.
Meanwhile, a group called Defend the Left has launched a petition whose signatories have reportedly left comments that blame “Zionazi Blairites” and Party Leader Sir Keir Starmer’s supposed “allegiance” to “foreign countries” for the proscription of the groups.
Campaign Against Antisemitism has for some time been monitoring the exodus of Labour members – particularly in the context of antisemitism allegations – and the prospect of a new political party or infiltration of another existing party by those former Labour members.
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Antisemitism Barometer 2019 showed that antisemitism on the far-left of British politics has surpassed that of the far-right.