Labour MPs vote for antisemitism definition

By Greg Heffer, political reporter
Labour MPs have overwhelmingly voted in favour of fully adopting the international definition and examples of antisemitism.
By 205 to eight votes, Labour MPs revealed their backing for the full adoption of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's working definition and examples of antisemitism.
The symbolic vote was held on Wednesday following the party's long-running dispute over accepting the IHRA definition and examples word-for-word.The result will be viewed as a clear statement to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and the party's ruling body.

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Labour's National Executive Committee (NEC) voted on Tuesday to adopt the IHRA definition and examples, but with the addition of a "freedom of expression" clause on Israel and the rights of Palestinians.Previously, the party's new code of conduct on antisemitism had included the full IHRA definition but omitted four of the IHRA examples, including the comparing of contemporary Israeli policies to those of the Nazis.The party had argued that, while the examples were not reproduced word for word, they were covered.Following fierce criticism in recent weeks, the NEC made the decision on Tuesday to fully adopt the IHRA definition and examples, albeit with the added statement on free speech.The addition of the clause prompted a backlash from MPs, party members and Jewish groups against the Labour leadership.
This deepened following reports of an unsuccessful attempt by Mr Corbyn to add his own 500-word caveat to the IHRA definition, supposedly outlining which criticisms of Zionism and Israel should be allowed.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been under pressure over the IHRA code
Wednesday's vote among MPs was held on an emergency motion, brought forward by Jewish MPs Louise Ellman and Ruth Smeeth, calling for the party to adopt the IHRA definition and examples untouched.The ballot had been deferred since July, prior to parliament's summer break, in order to allow a party consultation on the IHRA definition.Mr Corbyn had also called for the vote to be held later, because some MPs had already left Westminster due to the approaching recess when the vote was first planned.A Labour source stressed Wednesday's vote by MPs would not alter the party's position on the IHRA definition and examples.
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They said: "The NEC adopted the full IHRA statement and examples yesterday, so today's vote doesn't change anything and has been overtaken by yesterday's decision."The party's antisemitism dispute over the summer has seen serious allegations levelled at Mr Corbyn, while veteran MP Frank Field resigned the party whip with a warning Labour's leadership had become "a force for antisemitism in British politics".
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