Labour: Former MP Dame Louise Ellman rejoins party nearly two years after quitting over antisemitism

Former MP Dame Louise Ellman has rejoined Labour nearly two years after she quit the party with an attack on former leader Jeremy Corbyn for allowing antisemitism “to flourish”.

The 75-year-old, who served as MP for Liverpool Riverside between 1997 and 2019, said Mr Corbyn‘s successor, Sir Keir Starmer, was a Labour leader in whom British Jews can “once again” have trust.

Her return to Labour comes after the approval of an independent complaints process – as well as other safeguarding and disciplinary measures – by the party’s conference in Brighton this week.

It followed a critical report by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission over Labour’s handling of antisemitism allegations.

Dame Louise, who is a leading figure in the Jewish community and a former chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, said prior to the 2019 general election that she could “no longer advocate voting Labour when it risks Corbyn becoming prime minister”.

In a statement announcing her decision to quit the party in October 2019, she added that Mr Corbyn was “not fit to serve as our prime minister”.

Dame Louise alleged that, under the Islington North MP’s leadership, antisemitism had become “mainstream in the Labour Party”.

On Monday, Dame Louise said she had now rejoined her “political home” of Labour in order to “continue this fight” against antisemitism from inside the party.

“I do so with the reassurance that Keir understands the scale of the challenge we still have to overcome and confident that he is completely committed to doing what is necessary to rid Labour of the ugly stain of antisemitism in all its guises,” she said.

She added: “Keir has shown a willingness to confront both the anti-Jewish racists and the toxic culture which allowed antisemitism to flourish.

“In beginning the process of stamping out the poison of antisemitism, he has demonstrated leadership and, crucially, action. He has my full support.

“The rule changes accepted by conference this week are an important step to ensure the party’s disciplinary processes are fit for purpose, a vital part of tackling antisemitism in the party.”

Sir Keir described the return of Dame Louise to Labour as “a poignant moment”.

“Her courage and dignity in standing up against appalling abuse is testament to her Labour values,” he said.

“I am heartened to know that her faith in our party has been restored enough for her to return to her political home.

“The Labour Party is now relentlessly focused on showing that our credible and ambitious policy programme can change people’s lives.

“I look forward to Louise’s contributions.”

Dame Louise has been listed to speak at a Labour conference reception event in Brighton on Tuesday night.

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