'Corbyn is leaving, but his followers are still in power'

Former Labour MPs who resigned in protest of Jeremy Corbyn's leadership discuss the party's future following election defeat.

Hezki Baruch ,

Former Labour MP Joan Ryan
Former Labour MP Joan Ryan
Hezki Baruch

After last Thursday’s general election in the UK, in which the Labour Party suffered a historic defeat, losing a net of 60 seats, party chairman Jeremy Corbyn announced that he would resign as leader of the party before the next general election.

Former Labour MPs Joan Ryan and Louise Ellman, both staunch critics of Corbyn who resigned in November to protest his leadership of the party, spoke with Arutz Sheva at the International Institute for Strategic Leadership Dialogue in Jerusalem

While the two former Labour MPs who resigned in protest of Corbyn’s leadership celebrated his plans to eventually step down, they emphasized in an interview with Arutz Sheva that it will take more for the party to return to being the moderate, center-left movement it was prior to the take-over by the radical Left.

“This election result is clearly a great relief in many ways. As I’ve said before, I consider Jeremy Corbyn palpably unfit for public office and unfit to be Prime Minister of the United Kingdom,” said Joan Ryan, a former Labour MP who resigned last month to protest her party’s failure to confront anti-Semitism within its ranks. Ryan also serves as the honorary president of Labour Friends of Israel.

“In terms of the result of that election, for those of us who are part of the moderate, democratic, center-left tradition of the Labour Party, this is very sad. Sad that the Labour Party was taken over, infiltrated by the hard-left. Sad that the virus of anti-Semitism was allowed to poison the Labour Party.”

“This is a very important moment in time. There are many decent, moderate Labour MPs who need to stand up and speak up, and some already are. We need to support them and work together in trying now to develop again that center-left democratic offer, so that the people of the United Kingdom have a real choice in any election.”

“I think many did not want to support Boris Johnson, but they wanted to support Jeremy Corbyn even less, and rightly so.”

“There’s a very important job to be done now to support our democracy, to bring back those traditional Labour values – that Labour Party that has always been a friend and ally of Israel, that has always recognized, supported, and argued for Israel’s right to exist – as its right, not as a gift. We recognize the right of the people of Israel to self-determination. And we are a friend of Israel, and we are committed to the two-state solution. That is what the Labour Party needs to return to.”

“I don’t think this will be the end of the problem of anti-Semitism, but it might be the start of really getting some concerted action to deal with it and end the situation where the Labour Party became institutionally anti-Semitic.”

Former MP Louise Ellman, chairwoman of the Labour Friends of Israel caucus, said she was “pleased” by the election results which denied Corbyn the premiership, but said even Corbyn’s departure would not remove anti-Semitism from the party.

“The election in the United Kingdom was really a watershed election. I was a Labour Member of Parliament. I resigned from the Labour Party because of Labour’s anti-Semitism. And the one person responsible for that developing in the Labour Party as mainstream was Jeremy Corbyn. Jeremy Corbyn was hoping to become prime minister following this election.”

“Instead, the Labour Party had a massive defeat. Jeremy Corbyn will have to resign. He doesn’t want to resign quickly, but he will have to go.”

“I’m very pleased that Jeremy Corbyn cannot be prime minister of the United Kingdom. But it is extremely important to realize that many of his supporters are still in positions of power and they too have to go before the Labour Party can return to being a proper mainstream party.”