Jewish Labour MP Luciana Berger is facing a no confidence vote by Labour members in her Liverpool Wavertree constituency amid an ongoing row about antisemitism with the party.
Berger has been a prominent campaigner against anti-semitism and has been a magnet for online abuse and threats, to the extent she was given a bodyguard to attend Labour’s conference last year.
Members in her constituency party have called a meeting on 17 February to discuss two no-confidence motions in Berger who has criticised Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for his handling of antisemitism within the Labour party and his Brexit stance.
According to Jewish News, one of the Labour members to propose the motion, had called Berger a “disruptive Zionist” and has posted online suggesting 9/11 was a controlled demolition and that ISIS is covertly supported by Israel.
However, Labour’s shadow chancellor John Mcdonnell today said he did not think the no confidence vote was related to Berger’s outspoken stance on anti-semitism, rather suggesting it could be connected to media speculation about her role in a possible breakaway party.
“It looks as though there's other issues, it seems on social media from what I’ve seen, what's happened is Luciana's been associated in the media with a breakaway party,” Mcdonnell said, “the media have asked her to deny that – she hasn't been clear in that – my advice really on all of this is for Luciana to just put this issue to bed, say very clearly 'no I'm not supporting another party, I'm not jumping ship' and for local party members to sit down with Luciana and actually say ‘how can we support you? how can we work together in the future?’”
Moderate Labour MPs were vocal in their support for Berger.
Solidarity with @lucianaberger – a brilliant @UKLabour MP, rightly campaigning against antisemitism both in our party & across the country & one of our most powerful voices campaigning on mental health. Entire party shd support her
— Yvette Cooper (@YvetteCooperMP) February 7, 2019
.@lucianaberger is a brilliant, talented person who I am proud to have as a Labour colleague. She is a powerful advocate on mental health and against anti-semitism. She should be supported not undermined by everyone throughout our party.
— Ed Miliband (@Ed_Miliband) February 7, 2019
So unfair and outrageous for my friend Luciana Berger to face no confidence motion. She spearheads campaign to root out anti Semitism, fighting for the moral soul of Labour. Her work on mental health helps Labour stay ahead on this vital issue. Stop this vindictive absurdity now
— Margaret Hodge (@margarethodge) February 7, 2019
It’s totally shameful to our Party and movement that @lucianaberger is facing such awful threats and censure by her own CLP. Honestly, get a grip. Luciana is one of the most outstanding MPs of our generation. She’s also faced, with strength, death threats, racism & antisemitism.
— Lucy Powell MP (@LucyMPowell) February 7, 2019
Berger said in a statement: “I have made no secret that, as a Jewish woman representing a city with a Jewish community, I have been deeply disturbed by the lack of response from Jeremy Corbyn as party leader and many in the wider leadership to the antisemitism that stains our party.
"I am deeply disturbed at the leadership's desire to brush this aside and its decision not to comply with the expressed wish of Labour MPs.
"Nothing will deter me from exposing antisemitism wherever it festers, including in the Labour Party where it is being wilfully ignored."