MP who quit Labour party over anti-semitism RE-JOINS after being wooed back by Starmer
- Luciana Berger became disillusioned about her party in the spring of 2019
- Sir Keir said she was ‘forced out by intimidation, thuggery and racism’
An MP who quit the Labour Party four years ago amid concerns about antisemitism will rejoin the party after being lured back by Sir Keir Starmer.
Luciana Berger became disillusioned about her party in the spring of 2019 and quit after almost a decade as the MP for Liverpool Wavertree.
Ms Berger, originally from Wembley in north-west London, cited a ‘sea of cases’ of antisemitism within Labour, accusing its top brass of choosing to ‘brush under the carpet’ any complaints.
Sir Keir has said he is ‘delighted’ that Ms Berger has accepted his invitation to rejoin the party.
He wrote on Twitter: ‘My test for change was whether those who were rightly appalled by how far we had fallen believe this is their party again.
Luciana Berger became disillusioned about her party in the spring of 2019 and quit after almost a decade as the MP for Liverpool Wavertree
‘I know we’ve more to do but we’re unrecognisable from the party that forced her out.’
He posted images of letters exchanged with Ms Berger in which she writes: ‘I am looking forward to rejoining the party and working with you to continue what you have started.
‘It is time to replace this reckless and divisive government and ultimately make the difference our country so desperately deserves.’
In her letter she said it was a ‘grim journey’ from 2015 to 2019 ‘during which the party fell into the depths of the abyss under Jeremy Corbyn’s reign’.
She said it was ‘agonising’ to be put in a position in which she had no other choice but to leave her ‘political home’.
‘I never expected to bear witness to the volume and toxicity of anti-Jewish racism espoused by people who had been allowed to join Labour, and to experience a leadership that treated antisemitism within the party’s ranks differently to every other kind of racism – and that by refusing to condemn it, encouraged it.
‘But that is exactly what happened.’
Sir Keir said in his letter to Ms Berger that she left the party because she was ‘forced out by intimidation, thuggery and racism’, adding: ‘Yours was a principled and brave move.
Sir Keir said in his letter to Ms Berger that she left the party because she was ‘forced out by intimidation, thuggery and racism’, adding: ‘Yours was a principled and brave move
‘But it was one you should never have been forced to take. That day will forever be a stain on Labour’s history.’
He added : ‘Before you were forced out of the party, you were an outstanding Member of Parliament.’
The party and British politics are ‘poorer places’ without Ms Berger, Sir Keir said, and apologised to her for the ‘intolerable and unacceptable’ experience she had.
‘The abuse you suffered was disgusting. You were left isolated and exposed. Shamefully, those who should have defended you stood by.
‘The Labour Party – our party – has always prided itself on being a party of equality, collectivism, solidarity and anti-racism.
‘But during those dark days we were none of those things.’
The human rights watchdog found the party broke equality law over its handling of antisemitism complaints.
A damning report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in 2020 found the party was responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination.
Mr Corbyn rejected some of the report’s findings and claimed the issue had been ‘dramatically overstated for political reasons’ by his critics.
His comments led to Labour’s headquarters suspending him from the party.
Sir Keir said the findings of the EHRC investigation were ‘hard to read’, adding that it was ‘a day of shame for the Labour Party’.
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