New Times,
New Thinking.

  1. Election 2024
  2. The Staggers
6 May 2016updated 27 Jul 2021 3:24pm

Ken Livingstone blamed for Labour losses in Jewish areas

Did Labour’s antisemitism scandal put Jewish voters off?

By Anoosh Chakelian

A Labour councillor in Manchester has directly attributed his party’s local slump to the antisemitism scandal that saw Ken Livingstone suspended. Labour kept control of Bury council, Greater Manchester, but saw its vote collapse in Prestwich, a town represented by the council with a high Jewish population.

Labour lost three of its seats on Bury council, two of them wards in Prestwich, which is one of six towns the council represents. The Liberal Democrats gained the Prestwich ward of Holyrood from Labour, and the Conservatives gained the Prestwich ward of Sedgley from Labour. A Labour councillor in Sedgley, Alan Quinn, blamed these losses on comments about Israel and Hitler that led to Ken Livingstone’s suspension last week:

“It’s down to one person, and that’s Ken Livingstone. He has caused grotesque offence to the Jewish population in Prestwich with his absolutely awful comments. Our councillors put their hearts and souls into representing the area and there really is no place in the Labour Party for bigots like Ken Livingstone.”

Under similar scrutiny is the three-way marginal seat of Eastwood, a Scottish Parliamentary constituency that also has a high concentration of Jewish voters. In a significant gain, the Scottish Conservatives won the seat from Labour. It was once a Labour heartland; a vast bulk of it made up former Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy’s Westminster seat of East Renfrewshire when he was an MP.

Gemma Doyle, the former Labour MP for West Dunbartonshire in Scotland, tweeted that Labour losing Eastwood was “almost certainly” down to the party’s antisemitism row.

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said today that Livingstone’s comments “set us back”, and Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale claimed the scandal had “unquestionably had an effect” on Labour’s showing in Holyrood. Livingstone himself admitted that the furore had “undoubtedly” hit Labour’s election hopes, but put the story down to “Blairites [. . .] whipping up all the antisemitism stuff”.

It will be clearer how badly the party’s antisemitism problem has affected Jewish votes when the London results come through. Areas of north London, such as Golders Green and Stamford Hill, have a high proportion of Jewish voters, and about two-thirds of the UK’s Jews live in Greater London.

The Labour party, the local party in Bury, the Bury South MP Ivan Lewis, and the Scottish Labour party have all been contacted for their responses to this story, but we have yet to hear back.

Content from our partners
Peatlands are nature's unsung climate warriors
How the apprenticeship levy helps small businesses to transform their workforce
How to reform the apprenticeship levy