Cllr Kath McGuirk's Labour Conference speech on anti-Semitism

Speech to Labour Party Conference, 2016
Cllr Kath McGuirk – West Finchley ward, Finchley & Golders Green
Rule changes to tackle anti-Semitism

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Kath McGuirk, Finchley and Golders Green. A councillor in the London Borough of Barnet for 22 years.

Finchley & Golders Green has the largest Jewish constituent base in the country, and this is an issue not just for the Party but for the people out there.

The review undertaken by Shami Chakrabarti this summer on anti-Semitism in our Party, although criticised by some as a whitewash, did highlight that there are still issues that need to be addressed. There are still concerns expressed within our Party.

This is not also just about anti-Semitism. On Saturday at the Women’s Conference I heard stories of discrimination be it against disability, your sexuality, your race or your faith, and bullying because of your gender.

We do need to make it clear that discrimination of any kind is unacceptable in our Party, in our country, and in the world at large. We need to show the way in our Party and we need to do it now not next year.

This is why my Constituency Labour Party, Finchley and Golders Green, along with the Jewish Labour Movement and another eight constituencies submitted constitutional amendments on this very subject.

We were therefore exceedingly pleased when Jeremy Corbyn attended a hustings in North London and publicly agreed that this would be taken at conference this year. Sadly this does not seem to be the case.

Comrades I am sure you agree with me that we need to show everyone in the labour movement we totally oppose any discrimination, bullying, homophobia and misogyny, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.

This year we saw for the first time a Muslim elected as Mayor in a major city in Europe.

He faced attacks from the Tories and the Tory press - something even I, who has been a member for 34 years and a councillor for 22 years, have never seen the like of.

We as a Party joined forces and fought that, electing him with a huge mandate, the biggest mandate in Europe.

We absolutely must oppose bigotry and discrimination. We need to act without delay. The rhetoric is fine. I urge a rethink now. Actions speak louder than words. We must move now. Thank you comrades.

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