Lewisham’s branch of Momentum – the campaign group set up to support Jeremy Corbyn – has condemned the Labour Party’s suspension of former national vice chair Jackie Walker.
Walker, a 62-year-old party activist who is herself Jewish, was suspended from the Labour Party in May 2016 for alleged anti-Semitism.
Walker was suspended for a second time this September after leaked footage of a Labour Party training event showed her making a series of controversial comments.
At a meeting earlier this week, Jill Mountford, chair of Lewisham Momentum called for Walker’s reinstatement into the Labour party: “We will fight for Jackie’s reinstatement and call for Momentum nationally to do the same”.
However, Mountford’s motion stated that the decision by the groups steering committee to remove Walker as its vice chair was “reasonable and proportionate, given repeated comments which suggested at least a lack of seriousness in tackling anti-Semitism.”
At the Labour Party training event, Walker said: “I still haven’t found a definition of anti-Semitism that I can work with.” The leaked video also shows her saying that Holocaust Memorial Day should commemorate all genocides.
Following Walker’s comments, Labour MP John Mann said: “Jackie Walker’s behaviour is discriminatory, provocative, offensive and by any standard unacceptable in a modern political party.”
Mountford said condemning an off the cuff remark without giving a person a chance to clarify or retract what they had said was unfair but that the steering group’s response to Walker’s remarks was reasonable: “Jackie has had loads of chances to clarify her remarks and she has clarified them, but not very well.”
Some at the meeting pressed to remove the second part of Mountford’s motion: that the removal of walker as Vice Chair was reasonable and proportionate. Supporting Walker’s removal from the committee, they argued, would only benefit Corbyn’s enemies.
However the amendment fell and Mountford’s original motion was passed with a large majority.
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