U.K. Labour Lawmaker Slams Corbyn, Quits to Become anti-Semitism Czar

John Mann leaves Parliament after 18 years, accusing Labour Chairman of refusing to undo damage he has done

A van with a slogan aimed at Britain's Labour Party is driven around Parliament Square ahead of a debate on antisemitism in Parliament, in London, April 17, 2018
\ HANNAH MCKAY/ REUTERS

U.K. Labour lawmaker John Mann announced Sunday he would resign from the House of Commons to focus on his new post as anti-Semitism czar.

Mann, who has frequently criticized the way his party dealt with issues of anti-Jewish hatred, took advantage of his resignation to virulently critize his leader's handling of the issue. 

"Corbyn has given the green light to the anti-Semites and, having done so, has sat there and done nothing to turn that round," Mann told the Sunday Times.

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Mann will not run for the next elections, which could come within weeks, but unlike some of his other colleagues, he has decided not to leave the Labour party. Instead, he has called for Corbyn to resign, saying he had failed to deal with the problem, calling him an "enabler."

"When Corbyn goes the problem doesn't go with Corbyn," Mann told the Jewish Chronicle, saying the problem wasn't only with Labour. 

British MP John Mann.
Courtesy British Embassy

"But his failure to lead is the big problem – as is the problem of anti-Semitism on the left," Mann said. "His unwillingness to undo the damage he has done has had huge consequences... His refusal to sort things out - and the things he's done and said in the past – gives an open license to it."

Mann, who has been deeply involved with the fight against anti-Semitism in Britain, previously headed the All Party Parliamentary Committee on Anti-Semitism. In a speech on his appointment to his new post by then-Prime Minister Theresa May in July 2019, he characterized the Jewish community as the "canary in the coal mine for humanity and for the safety and future of my grandchildren." 

He was elected to the House of Commons in 2001, after a career in local politics and labor organizing. In 2016, he famously confronted former London mayor and prominent pro-Palestinian activist Ken Livingstone, calling him a "Nazi apologist" and a "fucking disgrace" for making comments flirting with Holocaust revisionism.