Labour MP forced to apologise over ‘Jews again’ remark during Israeli arrest warrant debate

Daily Mail – March 31, 2011

Veteran MP Sir Gerald Kaufman was facing formal complaints last night after exclaiming ‘Here we are, the Jews again’ when a fellow Labour MP stood up in the Commons.

The Manchester Gorton MP made the remark from his seat when Liverpool Riverside MP Louise Ellman stood to make an intervention during the report stage of the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill.

It is understood that Mrs Ellman was ‘Very upset’ by the remarks and has made a formal complaint to the Labour Party.

Both she and Sir Gerald are Jewish but have differing views on the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Conservative MP for Hendon Matthew Offord said he also intended to make a complaint on the matter.

In a point of order to Deputy Speaker Lindsay Hoyle, Mr Offord said: ‘I understand during the last debate a Member made a comment about another Member in this chamber.

‘I think the language they used certainly wasn’t parliamentary language.

‘I’m asking if you will take some action or advise me how I make a complaint against the Member for Manchester Gorton and the comments he made when the Member for Liverpool Riverside stood to make an intervention.’

Mr Hoyle replied: ‘If it was in earshot of me, obviously I would have dealt with it straight away. I didn’t hear anything.’

The comments were made during a debate over Government plans to change the law on universal jurisdiction.

At present anyone can seek an arrest warrant against a suspected war criminal providing they can satisfy a senior judge that there is a case to answer.

But in a speech, Labour’s Ann Clwyd accused ministers of trying to crowbar in a change to the law which would require the Director of Public Prosecutions to personally sign off on any arrest warrant before it could be issued.

She said ministers were acting at the behest of the Israeli government after its former foreign minister Tzipi Livni was arrested during a visit to the UK in December 2009.

When Mrs Ellman stood up to intervene in Ms Clwyd’s speech, Sir Gerald said from his seat: ‘Here we are, the Jews again.’

His comment was picked up by the microphone because he was sitting close to Ms Clwyd.

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