Huge reaction from audience for simple pledges from deputy leader candidates
Labour deputy leader hopefuls Dawn Butler and Richard Burgon stood out from their rivals – and from the leadership candidates – at yesterday’s hustings in Liverpool with their thoughtful and impassioned responses on a number of topics.
And on the issue of antisemitism in the Labour Party, they brought the house down by their measured answers.
After the other candidates had made rote responses on the issue, Butler and Burgon stood up for Labour members against claims that any form of racism is rampant in the party. Both reaffirmed their absolute determination to deal with antisemitism where it exists – as it surely does.
And both said they would not sign up to the ten demands issued by the Board of Deputies (BOD), as their deputy rivals and all the leadership candidates have.
Butler said that she wanted to wait until she had seen the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report on antisemitism in the party – and that getting the response right is too important to be rushed.
Burgon added that he had concerns about some of the demands; that it would not be right for Labour to ‘outsource’ its handling of the issue; that he wanted to ensure that all Jewish groups have a voice – the BOD has demanded that only organisations of which it approves should be consulted; and he said he wanted to talk to the BOD about how the IHRA working definition of antisemitism could be implented in the Labour Party without compromising freedom of expression or the rights of Palestinians:
The response of the audience to both speakers suggested that the vast majority of those present welcomed their commitment to deal with this serious issue in a way that respects and involves all Jewish groups and protects the rights of Palestinians.
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