EXCLUSIVE: Tories back Labour MP in anti-Semitism deselection row

Canterbury and Whitstable Labour MP Rosie Duffield

Conservative city councillors are to table a motion in support of Canterbury and Whitstable Labour MP Rosie Duffield after far leftists demanded that the party expel those who publicly stood up against anti-Semitism.

Ms Duffield attended a rally in Parliament Square on March 26 as protesters gathered in support of the members of the Jewish community who had suffered hate-filled abuse from left-wing extremists.

But some on the left argue that such activity is helping to fuel a politically motivated campaign against Labour and its leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Earlier this month veteran movie director Ken Loach demanded those taking a stance against anti-Semitism should be “kicked out” of the party – before rowing back on his comments.

Others on the far left, including members of the grass roots movement Momentum, have called for deselection of Labour MPs who demanded action against extremists with anti-Semitic views.

Cllr Stephen Bartley

Conservative councillors Stephen Bartley, who represents Seasalter, and Stuart Walker, of Little Stour and Adisham, have submitted a motion to council “defending Rosie Duffield’s position against racism within the Labour party”.

Cllr Bartley said: “Ms Duffield and I would likely disagree on a great many things but joining this protest took courage.

“Her record of campaigning against racism is unquestionable, and deserves our full support.

“Deselection comes during an election, when local people decide who becomes their next MP. It’s not the decision of hard left groups like Momentum.”

Cllr Walker added: “Conservatives will be campaigning for a new MP for Canterbury at the next general election. But in the meantime Labour supporters must not be allowed to deselect the local MP because she took a principled stand against Jeremy Corbyn.”

The text of the motion reads: “This council supports MPs of all parties in their public condemnation of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party.

“Furthermore, this council calls on the Labour Party to confirm it will not use attendance at the anti-Semitism protest in Westminster on March 26 as grounds to deselect Rosie Duffield or any other MP.”

After attending the Parliament Square rally, Labour MP Wes Streeting revealed some of the abuse he had received.

One man wrote to him to call him a “red Tory neoliberal scumbag…traitor” and urged him to “‘resign, go f*** yourself, or better yet kill yourself you worthless tory [sic]”.

The Conservatives’ motion will go before the full council meeting on April 26.

Ms Duffield’s office has been contacted for a comment.


  1. For Tories to criticise Labour for anti-semitism makes me think, on the 50th anniversary of Tory minister Enoch Powell’s “rivers of blood” speech, of the line in the Bible where Jesus’s warns against criticism the mote in another’s eye while ignoring the beam in your own.


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