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Streeting: Why I didn’t quit Labour despite ‘misgivings’ over antisemitism

Wes Streeting has spoken of the “morally challenging” decision to remain in the Labour Party under previous leader Jeremy Corbyn despite having “very serious misgivings on things like antisemitism.”

The Shadow Health Secretary stressed he would never attack the group of MPs who did decided to leave Labour under Corbyn, who included Jewish MP Luciana Berger and Ilford South’s Mike Gapes, adding:”I understand what they were going through.. I had lots of the same misgivings.”

Speaking during an appearance on Matt Forde’s The Political Party podcast, in front of a packed audience at the Duchess Theatre in London’s West End on Monday, Streeting said:”I’ve never attacked the people that left because I understand what they were going through.

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“And I have lots of the same misgivings and very serious misgivings on things like antisemitism …some of the positions that were struck, particularly around foreign policy and the Skripal poisonings in Salisbury.

“I made a different moral judgement actually which is the there will always be two major political parties in this country, especially with the electoral system that we have.

“And I felt to surrender Britain’s main opposition party to that kind of politics would be irresponsible.”

He added:”It is in itself a morally challenging question – and I stay true to my principles throughout. ”

The 39 year-old politician also revealed he had turned down approaches under Corbyn’s leadership of offers for frontbench roles, choosing instead to remain on the backbench.

He said he explained to the leadership at the time he would not be able maintain agreement on all policy decisions made under Corbyn, so it was best for all that he did not accept the offers.

Streeting heaped praise on current leader Keir Starmer saying “he’s put a lot of trust and faith in me” by giving him roles in the shadow cabinet, and that he wanted to “repay that trust and loyalty through hard work.”

The Ilford North MP also dismissed “silly season speculation” about leadership challenges to Starmer.

He said:”People underestimate the extent to which we are a team, we’re Keir Starmer’s team, and we are absolutely determined to make sure he walks thorough that black door at Number 10 and we are part of the first Labour government since 2010.”

Streeting said he believed Labour “is and always has been the best vehicle for social change and progressive change in our country.”

He added:”My anger with the Labour Party, is that we’ve spent far too much time in opposition and not nearly enough time in government, and we’ve got to break the cycle of extended periods of Conservative rule interspersed with brief periods of Labour government that tries to correct the damage and then we let the Tories come in and do it all over again.”

Nottingham Forest fan Forde has staged a succession of live shows for his Political Party podcast across the country, featuring politicians and other leading figures in conversation with him.

Source: Jewish News

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