St Albans Jewish people raise issue of anti-Semitism in hustings

St Albans Jewish people raised anti-Semitism at hustings.

St Albans Jewish people raised anti-Semitism at hustings. - Credit: Archant

Jewish people from St Albans joined together to ask questions to parliamentary candidates.

The issue of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party topped the agenda at a pre-election hustings, which was jointly arranged for the St Albans Jewish community by two synagogues: St Albans Masorti Synagogue (SAMS) and St Albans United Synagogue.

Labour candidate for the St Albans constituency Rebecca Lury offered her profound apologies for her party's lack of action as well as the lack of support it has offered to the UK's Jewish community.

She called for a zero tolerance approach within her party to all kinds of anti-Semitic attacks, alongside more robust measures to deal with incidents as they occur.

There was applause from the 100-strong audience when Tory candidate Anne Main responded to the same question by declaring that despite claims to the contrary, she considered that Jeremy Corbyn was "absolutely anti-Semitic".

She said that many Labour Party members were disheartened by the attitude of their leaders "with the result that so many good people have left the Labour Party".

In addition to the Tory and Labour candidates, the hustings heard from Liberal Democrat candidate Daisy Cooper, who promised the audience that her party would not hand the keys of Number 10 to Jeremy Corbyn under any circumstances.

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Asked how Brexit might benefit the people of St Albans, she said there would be little, if any, benefit.

She said: "All forms of Brexit would leave us poorer, weaker and more vulnerable but we can only stop it if the public give us a mandate to do so."

Anne Main said: "We have a robust economy. We will have a much better ability to trade wherever we want to."

St Albans United chair Elissa Da Costa-Waldman noted that all three of the candidates present were women, a victory, she said, for those who had fought so long and hard for women's suffrage.

This was the third time in four years that the two St Albans congregations joined forces to stage a hustings for the Jewish community.