Louise Ellman has rejoined the Labour Party, saying that she is “returning to her political home”, after the annual conference in Brighton passed rule changes legally mandated by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission this week.
In a statement shared on social media this afternoon, the former Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside said that the rule changes passed by delegates on Sunday evening represented a “vital part of tackling antisemitism within the party”.
Ellman criticised Jeremy Corbyn and praised Keir Starmer in her statement, saying that the new Labour leader has “shown a willingness to confront both the anti-Jewish racists and the toxic culture which allowed antisemitism to flourish”.
“The Labour Party should never have allowed and tolerated the growth of racism within its ranks. The findings of the EHRC – and the behaviour of the previous leadership – remain a disgrace and represent the darkest period in the party’s history,” she wrote.
“I was devastated to be forced out of the party in 2019 after 55 years of membership. The treatment I faced from some members locally and the actions of the previous leadership was horrendous. It has taken its toll.”
The EHRC published a report on antisemitism within the party last year, finding Labour responsible for “unlawful acts“. The rule changes passed this week include provisions for the establishment of an independent complaints process.
Ellman represented Liverpool Riverside from 1997 to 2019, when she quit the party after writing to the then Labour leader saying that she was “deeply troubled” over the “growth of antisemitism” in the party in recent years.
The former MP said that there is still “considerably more work to be done” in the party to “repair the hurt and damage inflicted on the Jewish community” and criticised delegates for backing a motion put forward by Young Labour on Israel and Palestine earlier today.
She described the motion, which condemns “Israel’s continuing illegal actions”, as “disgraceful” and argued that it “shows there are still too many in the party who are more obsessed with demonising Israel than reaching a solution”.
Commenting on Ellman rejoining, Starmer said: “On becoming leader of the Labour Party, I committed to ripping out the poison of antisemitism from our party. We have made significant progress, but I have always said that that the true test of success is regaining the trust of the Jewish community, and for Jewish people to know that the Labour Party is a safe place for them.
“Louise Ellman re-joining our Party is a poignant moment. Her courage and dignity in standing up against appalling abuse is testament to her Labour values. I am heartened to know that her faith in our party has been restored enough for her to return to her political home.
“The Labour Party is now relentlessly focused on showing that our credible and ambitious policy programme can change people’s lives. I look forward to Louise’s contributions.”