Louise Ellman has quit Labour after 55 years of membership and 49 years of representing the party at a local and national level, stating that “Jeremy Corbyn is not fit to serve as our Prime Minister”.
The MP tweeted: “I have made the truly agonising decision to leave the Labour Party after 55 years. I can no longer advocate voting Labour when it risks Corbyn becoming PM. I will continue to serve the people of Liverpool Riverside as I have had the honour to do since 1997.”
Ellman has said she will not join another party, and hopes to return to Labour – “my political home” – at some point in the future when it is under a different leadership. She will sit in the House of Commons as an Independent MP.
Commenting on the news, a Labour Party spokesperson said: “Jeremy Corbyn thanks Louise Ellman for her service to the Labour Party over many years.
“Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party are fully committed to the support, defence and celebration of the Jewish community and continue to take robust action to root out antisemitism in the party and wider society.
“Jeremy Corbyn has consistently supported struggles for human rights and justice around the world and made the right calls in the interests of security and peace.”
The story was broken by The Times. Ellman exclusively revealed to the paper that she had been “deeply troubled for a long time” by the “growth of antisemitism in the Labour Party” under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
“There is certainly a possibility, if not a likelihood, that Jeremy Corbyn could become Prime Minister, and this means I’ve had to face taking a decision,” she told The Times. “I believe that Jeremy Corbyn would be a danger to the country, a danger to the Jewish community as well, but a danger to the country too.”
In her resignation statement, Ellman claims that “antisemitism has become mainstream” in Labour with Corbyn at the helm, and that the leader has “attracted the support of too many antisemites”.
It was thought that the MP was about to be ‘triggered’ by her local party and made to face a full selection process that would have been difficult to win. Several branches had motions of no confidence submitted by members, though none were debated.
Ellman is chair of Labour Friends of Israel, having taken up the post after Joan Ryan quit the party in February. Ryan only left as chair in August, and then became honorary president. Ellman is also vice-president of the Jewish Leadership Council.