'People think Labour is racist,' ex-councillor says

By Alan McGuinness, Political Reporter
A defeated Labour candidate has told Sky News the party's "catastrophic" loss in Barnet happened "because people think we're racist".
Adam Langleben told Sky News that Labour's anti-Semitism row had cost it victory in the north London borough, which is home to 20% of the Jewish population of England and Wales.The party had been hopeful of gaining control of the authority in Thursday's local elections, but the Conservatives held it, a result which has been widely attributed to a drop in Jewish voters backing Labour.Mr Langleben, who lost his West Hendon seat, called for leader Jeremy Corbyn to come to Barnet and personally apologise, saying: "I think in the last few days we haven't heard anything from the Labour leadership on this."Barnet was a catastrophic result for the Labour Party. It was the worst result in the country. It was Labour's number one target and we lost it because people think we're racist."What he needs to do is he should come to Barnet. He was meant to come to Barnet for a victory celebration - he should still come to Barnet. He should listen to the concerns of the Jewish community."
'People think Labour is racist,' ex-councillor says

Full interview: 'I was told I'm racist because of wearing a red rosette'
Mr Langleben, who is Jewish, also spoke about his experience on the campaign trail in the run-up to polling day."I spoke to someone last week, I knocked on her door and she saw my red rosette and she pointed at the Jewish scripture on her house," he recalled."She said to me 'I'm really sorry, turkeys don't vote for Christmas, I'm Jewish. I can't vote for your party. I've voted Labour my whole life, I was brought up in the union movement, but I cannot and will not vote Labour on Thursday'."And we lost that ward by one vote."He said Jewish Labour activists who knocked on doors "suffered the most horrific abuse from residents, because residents thought we were racist".
"I was being told that I'm a racist because I was standing on their doorstep with a Labour Party rosette. We all deserve an apology," Mr Langleben added.When asked if part of the party was racist, he said: "I think there is an element of the Labour Party which has a problem with racism. I think it's a problem that's been on the far left and has now entered our mainstream."
"Antisemitism has no role, no place at all in the Labour Party, we will rout it out from top to bottom" says Labour Party Chairman @IanLaveryMP #Ridge— Ridge on Sunday (@RidgeOnSunday) May 6, 2018
Mr Langleben said the party could still win back Jewish voters, saying there are "hundreds of thousands of Jews in Britain who share the same values as the Labour Party", but called for decisive action."If the Labour Party want to form a government they need to deal with this and get rid of these people," he said."The country will not vote for a party that has a sickness inside of it."Party chairman Ian Lavery told Sky's Sophy Ridge on Sunday that anti-Semitism "has no role, no place at all in the Labour Party" and pledged to "root it out from top to bottom"."Let me make clear to Adam and all his colleagues, we will again integrate within the Jewish community, we will make this right, we will put this right," he said.Shadow chancellor John McDonnell acknowledged the row had impacted on Labour's performance.
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He told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that he would be meeting councillors in Barnet this week, adding: "Anti-Semitism certainly had its effect, there's no doubt about it, in Barnet itself."I'm hoping that the measures we have put in place now, the Chakrabarti Report implemented in full, Jennie Formby the new general secretary - Jeremy Corbyn said to Jennie 'your first priority is tackling this issue'."
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