The Jewish Chronicle

‘Bullied’ Louise Ellman nears exit


DAME LOUISE Ellman has told the JC she is still “considerin­g her future” in Labour after becoming “worn down” by Jeremy Corbyn’s failure to tackle antisemiti­sm in the party and a campaign of intimidati­on from left-wing activists in her local constituen­cy.

The Jewish MP — who has represente­d Liverpool Riverside since 1997 — said she was “still waiting” for the Labour leadership to “act decisively” over the issue of Jew-hatred.

She described the decision of hardleft activists in her local party to pass a motion in support of the leaders of neighbouri­ng Wavertree constituen­cy Labour Party (CLP) who targeted fellow Jewish MP Luciana Berger — who quit the party last week — as “absolutely shameful”.

Speaking to the JC on Wednesday, Dame Louise admitted she had yet to decide whether to resign from Labour — although she always held out hope that it was possible to fight antisemiti­sm from “within” the party.

She said: “The current situation is not something I ever expected to face in the Labour Party.

“I am still struggling with it. I have had a lot of support over the last few days from people in the party who are trying to convince me to stay. But my mind has not been made up.

“I’m still waiting for the leadership to take decisive action on this issue.”

But Dame Louise, 73, has privately admitted she would have difficulty being convinced she could campaign for Mr Corbyn to become Prime Minister at a general election.

As a staunch Labour loyalist who first joined the party over 55 years ago, the MP, who is vice-chair of the Labour Friends of Israel group, would also find it difficult to join Ms Berger and her colleagues in the new Independen­t Group.

During raucous scenes at Friday’s Rivertree CLP meeting, a motion was passed expressing “complete solidarity” with the executive of Ms

Berger’s Wavertree MP Ellman (left); White with McDonnell (top); and the Labour report on hate incidents in Ellman’s Liverpool constituen­cy

party and depicting the allegation by Labour’s Deputy Leader Tom Watson that she was forced out of the party by bullying local activists as a “smear”.

Former Liverpool Mayor Malcolm Kennedy said he believed Dame Louise was herself being subjected to a “bullying” campaign. “It’s the atmosphere, it’s the attitudes,” he said.

He added: “The dignity of Louise Ellman is amazing. She stands there, as if in the dock, as the chair allows members to take the mic during her report and condemn her as if in a Soviet show trial.”

The JC has obtained a copy of the unpublishe­d report into incidents of antisemiti­sm in Liverpool Riverside, written by senior party staff. It states that Dame Louise was “physically threatened”, called a “JLM [Jewish Labour Movement] b*tch” and made to endure “obsessive interrogat­ions” about Israel-Palestine at every meeting.

It found members “feared for their own or others’ physical safety”.

Activists entered meetings “without proof of membership”, hounded longstandi­ng members and accused Israel of being responsibl­e for Isis, Hamas and al-Qaeda.

It also revealed that at every meeting of the local party, “a significan­t proportion of each meeting is given over to intense questionin­g on Israel from the floor following the Riverside report.

“It would appear the issue arises without fail in CLP meetings — regardless of the report — often as a platform to attack the MP.

“This has on occasion spilled over into incidents which have drawn allegation­s of antisemiti­sm, particular­ly where some members have felt that others are holding the MP — a Jewish woman—– personally accountabl­e for the actions of the Israeli government.”

Numerous incidents, either in CLP meetings or during discussion­s online, were reported to the NEC ahead of the report, including one involving a Labour member who described Zionism as a “danger to Jewish people”.

The report details witness statements from members which told of meetings and online discussion­s in which it was claimed: “Every Jew is a ‘Zio-fascist’ if they support Israel’s existence.”

Another member said Israel was “responsibl­e for the global rise in antisemiti­sm” while another said: “Jews bear an individual and collective responsibi­lity for the actions of the Israeli government.”

The JC can also reveal that the current plot to oust Dame Louise from her constituen­cy is led by a former member of the Trotskyist Militant Tendency group who has repeatedly denied allegation­s of antisemiti­sm in Mr Corbyn’s party.

Audrey White — who sports a photograph of herself with shadow chancellor John McDonnell on her Twitter page — was among a group of militants who repeatedly interrupte­d Dame Louise as she delivered her report to members of her local Party on Friday evening.

Ms White, who has supported claims by groups such as Jewish Voice For Labour that there “is no sound evidence to back the claims of Labour’s antisemiti­sm”, has received a number of formal warnings from the party over allegation­s of bullying against members.

One member received confirmati­on from Labour which stated: “Audrey White has been issued with a formal NEC warning with regards to her conduct. Her behaviour was deemed to fail to meet the standards expected.”

In another incident, Ms White falsely claimed that a Labour councillor was under investigat­ion by the police for having “cruelly taunted” a “disabled pensioner suffering from cancer”.

In June last year, Ms White posted a photograph of herself with Unite union boss Len McCluskey and Liverpool Walton MP Dan Carden on her Twitter page.

She wrote: “With Lenny and our fabulous MP from Walton. Lenny has always supported the community branches in our union. They are a powerful force.”

We can also reveal that Ms White told Labour chiefs she was born on August 8, 1995 on her applicatio­n to rejoin the party — which allowed her to join Labour on September 12, 2015. But records show that the same Audrey White is described by the official Militant history of Liverpool in the 1980s as a “long-standing Militant supporter”.

Ms White refused to explain why she had used an incorrect date when contacted by the JC.

Ellman was ‘physically threatened’ and called a ‘JLM b*tch’

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