‘Bul­lied’ Louise Ell­man nears exit

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - EX­CLU­SIVE BY LEE HARPIN

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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