Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson says general secretary should quit if anti-Semitism crisis isn’t fixed by Christmas

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LABOUR broke into open warfare yesterday as deputy leader Tom Watson told the party’s general secretary to quit at Christmas if she hasn’t rid the party of anti-Semitism.

He publicly shamed Jennie Formby – a former ally of his – for failing to deal with the crisis engulfed the party over the summer.

Labour's deputy leader Tom Watson said that Jennie Formby should quit by Christmas over anti-Semite row
Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson said that Jennie Formby should quit by Christmas if the anti-Semitism problem isn’t stamped out the party
PA:Press Association

He piled the pressure on her to kick hundreds of anti-Semites out of the party by saying she had “staked her career on dealing with anti-Semitism in our party”.

And Mr Watson then laid down the unprecedented public ultimatum to sort out the party’s anti-Semitism scandal live on Good Morning Britain yesterday.

He also clashed with his boss Jeremy Corbyn over the decision by his grassroots support group Momentum to allow a political activist accused of vandalising the Warsaw ghetto to speak at its World Transformed conference later this month.

Mr Watson said it was “highly inappropriate” for Ewa Jasiewicz to be given a platform at the conference given reports that she wrote pro-Palestinian messages on the last remaining wall of the ghetto where tens of thousands of people died during the Second World War.

General secretary for Labour, Jennie Formby has 'staked her career' on getting rid of anti-Semitism in Labour
General secretary for Labour, Jennie Formby has ‘staked her career on dealing with anti-Semitism’

He called on Momentum founder Jon Lansman to drop as a speaker “on the grounds of taste and decency”.

But Mr Corbyn, who is also scheduled to speak at the conference, refused to back Mr Watson’s calls for her to be dropped.

His spokesman simply said it was “a matter for Momentum who it invites to its own conferences and events,” adding: “It’s not a matter for Jeremy.”

Labour’s disciplinary panel has been swamped with hundreds of anti-Semitism complaints and the general secretary missed her July deadline for sorting the current backlog of 70 formal probes.

Pro-Israel MP Joan Ryan's office was allegedly broken into
Pro-Israel MP Joan Ryan’s office was allegedly broken into leaving her feeling ‘vulernable’

Ms Formby, a former political director of the Unite union, only took over as Labour’s ruling general secretary in April.

Mr Watson laid down the unprecedented public ultimatum to sort out the party’s anti-Semitism scandal live on TV.

The deputy Labour leader told ITV’s Good Morning Britain yesterday: “We should have dealt with it earlier. We have hired a new general secretary who has staked her career on dealing with anti-Semitism in our party.

“She has been in post for three or four months.

In PMQ's Theresa May tore into Jeremy Corbyn for not rooting out anti-Semitism in his party
In PMQ’s Theresa May tore into Jeremy Corbyn for not rooting out anti-Semitism in his party
PA:Press Association

If I come here again at Christmas and she has not dealt with it, then you may be asking me why she is still in post.”

It comes after police launched an investigation into alarming claims that hard-left activists had infiltrated the offices of pro-Israel MPs Joan Ryan said she had been left feeling “vulnerable” after she found a card inside her office from Corbynista supporters threatening her.

Police are investigating CCTV footage.

In the Commons yesterday Mr Corbyn faced an unprecedented attack from Theresa May, who said his handling of the anti-Semitism crisis proves he’s unfit to run the country.


At Prime Minister’s Questions she blasted: “Police investigating anonymous and threatening letters about the deselection of Labour MPs sent to their offices.

“And most shamefully of all, the honourable member for Streatham saying that the Labour party is now an institutionally racist party.

“That’s what he’s done to Labour – just think what he’d do to this country!”