Three more Labour councillors, Allan Barclay, Marilyn Davies and Jason Fojtik, have resigned from the Labour Party over antisemitism.
Mr Barclay, the Mayor of Hartlepool, said that he resigned from Labour because: “My fear has become a reality that the Labour Party has become a party of antisemites, racists and homophobes, it has indeed become the nasty party.” In his resignation letter to Jeremy Corbyn, as well as Deputy Leader Tom Watson and General Secretary Jennie Formby, he wrote that: “I feel that Jeremy Corbyn must resign and the Corbynites must be removed from the Labour Party. This is the only way that the party can become respectable again.”
“My fear has become a reality that the Labour Party has become a party of antisemites, racists and homophobes, it has indeed become the nasty party.”
Mr Barclay, an armed forces veteran, had been a member of the Party for more than 24 years. A Labour Party spokesperson said that the Party rejected Mr Barclay’s position.
Ms Davies also resigned over antisemitism. A Labour and Co-op councillor in Freeland and Hanborough in Oxfordshire, Ms Davies, was reportedly infuriated after a video featuring former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown making a speech opposing antisemitism was deleted from the closed Witney Labour Facebook group. Ms Davies told the Oxford Mail: “I could not have been prouder to be elected, a year ago, as a Labour and Co-op councillor for Hanborough and Freeland. But in that year, my party has changed, and whilst I know my former Labour councillors at West Oxfordshire District Council share my values and commitment to our communities, I have come to the conclusion to stay in the party would make me complicit in the antisemitism and climate of hate and fear now generated across CLPs.”
“I believe the Party has become institutionally antisemitic, and I can no longer stand by in silence, because being silent is being complicit.”
She added: “I believe the Labour Party is now institutionally antisemitic. It is not just those who generate it who are to blame but those that stand by silent while they do. I can no longer be silent. I will be louder.” In a Facebook post, she also wrote that: “But I believe the Party has become institutionally antisemitic, and I can no longer stand by in silence, because being silent is being complicit.”
Mr Fojtik, the Labour town and district councillor for Clopton Ward in Stratford-upon-Avon, released a statement on social media explaining his resignation. He wrote: “For months the Labour Party failed to act before finally being shamed into accepting the definition [International Definition of Antisemitism], but little has changed and I have come to the conclusion that a Party that has always been proud of its anti-racism, has become institutionally antisemitic under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. Ignoring this deplorable behaviour by our supporters is tantamount to tacit endorsement.”
“I have come to the conclusion that a Party that has always been proud of its anti-racism, has become institutionally antisemitic under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.”
Mr Fojtik was elected town and district councillor for Clopton Ward in 2015. He will now stand as an independent in that ward in the upcoming local elections.
Campaign Against Antisemitism commends Messrs Barclay, Davies and Fojtik for taking a principled stand against antisemitism.
They join many other councillors who have also felt compelled to leave. In recent months, eleven MPs have resigned from the Labour Party over antisemitism.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission has begun pre-enforcement proceedings against the Labour Party following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant. The pre-enforcement proceedings are a precursor to opening a full statutory investigation.
Yesterday, marked the one year anniversary since over 2,000 Jews and non-Jews alike converged from across the UK for a national demonstration outside Labour Party Head Office in London organised by Campaign Against Antisemitism. The rally demanded that the Labour Party hold Mr Corbyn to account over his failure to tackle antisemitism in the Party. We received 1,025 disciplinary complaints from the demonstrators which we handed over to the Labour Party. A year later, they have still not investigated these complaints.
Almost 50,000 people have now signed our petition denouncing Jeremy Corbyn as an antisemite and declaring him “unfit to hold any public office”.