Jewish MPs in talks with security advisers over need for bodyguards at Labour Party’s annual conference

Jack Maidment — The Telegraph August 26, 2018

Jewish MPs are in talks with security advisers over whether they need bodyguards at the Labour Party’s annual conference.

The Jewish Labour Movement has reportedly discussed with the Community Security Trust, a charity which aims to protect and defend British Jews, the possibility of providing minders to MPs and delegates.

The Telegraph understands that CST has been in contact with a number of MPs about potential security arrangements and to offer advice on how to stay safe.

It comes amid fears over the safety of high profile Jewish Labour MPs when they attend the conference in Liverpool next month as the party’s anti-Semitism row continues to grow.

Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, has faced intense criticism following the emergence of footage of him claiming that British Zionists “don’t understand English irony”.

Mr Corbyn has been reported to the parliamentary watchdog over the comments which he made at an event in London in 2013.

The comments provoked outcry among the Jewish community and Mr Corbyn’s own MPs.

The deepening row over anti-Semitism comes just one month before the Labour Party’s annual conference.

The online abuse suffered by Jewish Labour MPs during the row has raised questions over their safety in Liverpool.

A source told the Mail on Sunday that the conference would be “particularly tense” because “much of the worst anti-Semitic trolling on the internet has been traced back to hotspots in Merseyside”.

The source said the CST would be “reporting back with a full assessment of the security requirements” adding there was a “real concern about safety”.

A CST spokesman confirmed to the Telegraph that conversations with MPs had taken place.

The spokesman said: “CST has advised many MPs on a range of security matters and this will no doubt continue as required over the party conference season.”

It is not the first time that the prospect of bodyguards attending a Labour Party conference has emerged.

Last year it was reported that Laura Kuenssberg, the BBC’s political editor, was being protected by minders following abuse she had received over her role.

Mr Corbyn’s 2013 comments prompted Helen Grant, the vice-chairman of the Conservative Party, to write to Kathryn Stone, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, to urge her to investigate whether Mr Corbyn had brought the House of Commons into disrepute.

A spokesman for Mr Corbyn claimed he had been referring to a “group of pro-Israel activists” and had not been singling out Jews, adding that he was “opposed to all forms of anti-Semitism”.

Appearing alongside Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian Authority representative in Britain, Mr Corbyn described how a recent speech given by the envoy had been criticised by Zionists who had attended the event.

He said: “[Mr Hassassian’s words] were dutifully recorded by the thankfully silent Zionists who were in the audience on that occasion and then came up and berated him afterwards for what he’d said. So clearly two problems. One is that they don’t want to study history and, secondly, having lived in this country for a very long time, probably all their lives, they don’t understand English irony either. Manuel does understand English irony and uses it very, very effectively.”

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