Dawn Butler: Labour ‘unfairly scapegoated’ over antisemitism

Dawn Butler

Monday, February 25, 2019

The Labour Party is being “unfairly scapegoated” over accusations of institutional antisemitism, shadow cabinet member Dawn Butler said today.

Speaking to talkRADIO’s Matthew Wright, Butler accused the Conservatives of using antisemitism as a political football while ignoring their own party’s record on Islamophobia.

Despite warnings by deputy leader Tom Watson that the party was facing a “crisis for its soul” over antisemitism this weekend, Butler defended Labour’s handling of the issue.



Butler said: “The government and Prime Minister are not dealing with the growth of antisemitism and Islamaphobia in the country, instead they’re using it as a political football and that’s quite dangerous for them to do that.

“Labour has always been unfairly scapegoated. The Tories notoriously have problems in their own party and yet nobody talks about it.”


'You can't be a keyboard warrior'

Butler insisted that the reforms put in place by Labour general secretary Jennie Formby were sufficient to deal with the issue, contradicting comments made by Tom Watson this weekend.

Butler said: “To cite the Labour Party as institutionally antisemitic now, today, is incorrect, because of all the work that has gone in to build adequate processes and structures to deal with complaints.

“We do not tolerate any antisemitic views in the Labour Party and if anyone’s accused of that they have to go through the proper process and that’s the most important thing.

“You can't circumvent it, you can't be a keyboard warrior saying this or that person must go, there needs to be a proper process and it's absolutely right that happens and that’s what we’ve been doing in the party.”

If a “zero-tolerance approach” was taken without placing emphasis on education and learning then “nobody will be able to say anything or do anything, everybody will just be out,” Butler added.


'Fundamental' that Independent Group face by-elections

The Independent Group MPs have faced calls to stand in a by-election. Image: Getty. 

Butler also said she believed that the nine Labour MPs who resigned their seats last week should stand in a by-election.

“If you’ve left the platform that you stood on to win your seat and it is absolutely right and fundamental that you go back to the constituency and ask if they would be elected again on this platform,” she added.