MP: I’ll work with Cor­byn de­spite Is­rael dif­fer­ence

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY MAR­CUS DYSCH

A JEWISH Labour MP who was pro­moted to shadow for­eign min­is­ter in Jeremy Cor­byn’s reshuf­fle has said he can work with the party leader de­spite their sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences over Is­rael.

Fabian Hamil­ton, a vo­cal critic of the party’s ap­proach to Pales­tinian state­hood dur­ing Ed Miliband’s lead­er­ship, said he knew there would be “dif­fi­cult bridges to cross” in his work along­side Mr Cor­byn.

But the 60-year-old said he felt duty-bound to take the job and use his ex­pe­ri­ence of for­eign affairs to ben­e­fit the party.

Mr Hamil­ton said: “I know what the Jewish com­mu­nity thinks about Jeremy’s lead­er­ship and I’m well aware of Jeremy’s views, but the Labour Party is more than one per­son.

“I did point out my own par­tic­u­lar views that are very dif­fer­ent to Jeremy’s on the Middle East and I was told ‘that’s fine, he’s per­fectly happy with that’.”

Mr Hamil­ton’s new

Fabian Hamil­ton po­si­tion in­cludes re­spon­si­bil­ity for is­sues re­lat­ing to the United Na­tions and Nato, nu­clear counter-pro­lif­er­a­tion — he op­poses re­new­ing the Tri­dent mis­sile sys­tem — sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa and coun­tries in the In­dian sub­con­ti­nent.

He said: “I’m not go­ing to sit here three days into the job and say ‘if this hap­pens I’ll re­sign or if that hap­pens I’ll re­sign’. I’m go­ing to have to see how it goes.”

He added: “There will be ar­eas that wi l l be dif­fi­cult, I ac­cept that, but I’ll have to make a judge­ment at the time. I’ll cross any dif­fi­cult bridges when I come to them.”

Ac­knowl­edg­ing Mr Cor­byn’s past crit­i­cisms of Is­rael, Mr Hamil­ton said his elec­tion as party leader repres e n t e d a “fur

t h e r step against Is­rael” fol­low­ing Mr Miliband’s time in charge. But the Leeds North East MP said that it was im­por­tant that Hi­lary Benn had re­mained as Shadow For­eign Sec­re­tary.

“If it had been Diane Ab­bott, it would have been dif­fer­ent. But it’s Hi­lary Benn, a close per­sonal friend, some­one I’ve worked closely with over many years, a neigh­bour­ing MP, some­one I trust hugely. I don’t think he and I dif­fer at all ac­tu­ally on our ap­proach to the Middle East.”

In De­cem­ber Mr Hamil­ton had crit­i­cised Mr Cor­byn while speak­ing at an event held in aid of Wizo in Leeds.

He had told the au­di­ence that his party leader “hasn’t got very good judg­ment, which means that some of the peo­ple around him are ut­terly aw­ful”.

The MP said he stood by his views of the leader’s ad­vis­ers fol­low­ing his pro­mo­tion, but said that his re­marks re­lat­ing to Mr Cor­byn’s judg­ment had been in re­la­tion to his past com­ments about Hizbol­lah.

“Some of the peo­ple around Jeremy, I do ques­tion their judg­ment,” Mr Hamil­ton told the JC.

He crit­i­cised for­mer leader Ed Miliband for “in­ter­fer­ing far too much” in the for­eign affairs brief, a sit­u­a­tion per­mit­ted by his “very weak” Shadow For­eign Sec­re­tary Dou­glas Alexan­der.

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