Sir Keir Starmer reiterates commitment to “root out” antisemitism

Sir Keir Starmer reiterated a commitment to “root out” antisemitism during his first speech to a Labour conference as leader.

Addressing the party virtually in Doncaster, delivered without an audience due to coronavirus, he was introduced by Jewish former MP Ruth Smeeth, who lost her seat in December 2019.

Smeeth, who is Vice Chair of the Jewish Labour Movement and its former Parliamentary chair, was a leading campaigner against antisemitism in the party, and cited its failure to tackle Jew-hatred, and Brexit, as reasons for her loss.

Introducing Keir, she said the new leader has “already demonstrated that our party is under new management”, adding that the party is “determined to eradicate the stain of antisemitism. No ifs. No buts.”

“It has been difficult to be Jewish in the Labour Party in recent years. We lost too many friends who were bullied out of the party and too many people who have been hurt by visceral racism which should have no home in our movement.

But under Keir’s new leadership I know that the trauma of the last few years will begin to heal.”

Starmer said: “As I promised on my first day as leader we will root out the antisemitism that has infected our party. We’re making progress – and we will root it out, once and for all.”

He stressed that “this is a party under new leadership” and urged voters who had deserted Labour to take a fresh look at it.

He stressed that: “Racial inequality is one of the causes that brought me into politics. And the eradication of structural racism will be a defining cause for the next Labour government.”

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