Citing UK's Opposition Labour Party's failure to effectively tackle anti-Semitic racism within its ranks, the Indian-origin author, economist and peer Lord Meghnand Desai, resigned as a member of the Labour Party on Thursday. While speaking about his resignation, the 80-year-old peer said that he has only been a Labour Party supporter but was forced to take the decision to cancel his membership after 49 years because the party's former leader Jeremy Corbyn was readmitted to the party right after 19 days of suspension. 'The former leader was readmitted despite findings of 'unlawful acts' by the country's human rights watchdog,' he added.
Meghnad Desai said, "It was a very peculiar decision to allow him back without any apology. He has been refused the party whip in the House of Commons for a few months, but that is a very lame response to a very big crisis."
Desai said, “I have been very uncomfortable and slightly ashamed that the party has been injected with this sort of racism. Jewish MPs were abused openly, and female members were trolled. It is out and out racism."
Speaking further about the Labour Party failing to tackle antisemitic racism within its rank, Desai stated that the party has been plagued by allegations of anti-Semitism over the years. He also mentioned that after its disastrous electoral defeat in December 2019 election, the Labour Party has also linked to the crisis. 'Sir Keir Starmer took over as the new party leader this year with the promise of riding the party of the scourge and had taken teh step to suspend Corbyn last month after he seemed to downplay the very critical findings of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC),' he added.
Speaking about the findings of the EHRC, the Indian-origin economist and author said, 'EHRC has found that Labour has broken the law in its failure to handle anti-Semitism, or anti-Jewish, complaints and there were serious failings by its leaders at that time.' Desai also said that he doesn't see things really changing in the foreseeable future and that is why he has to ultimately live with his own conscience. 'I can't go on being in an antisemitic party,' he added.
While dismissing the possibility that he will be joining any other political party, Meghnad Desi said that he has sent in his resignation letter to the Leader of the Labour Party in the House of Lords, Baroness Angela Smith. Pointing towards the numerous appeals made to him to reconsider his resignation, he announced that he will now sit as an independent peer. Desai added that his application will continue to be a part of the Crossbench group of the UK Parliament’s Upper House is underway.
(With PTI inputs)