Owen Jones: Antisemitism? No, Frank Field jumped before he was pushed | Owen Jones

The MP’s claim that he fled the Labour party in the name of anti-racism is audacious. He knew his time was up

“God, what am I doing in this party?” That’s how Frank Field describes what was going through his head: but this wasn’t when Jeremy Corbyn was leader. This was under his predecessor, Ed Miliband, after Field demanded to know if Labour was responsible for “this huge influx” of immigrants, and his fellow MPs cheered when the leader said “no”. Here was a politician who no longer felt comfortable belonging to his party before Corbyn had even stood for leader, and all because Labour was not sufficiently hostile to immigration.

In his resignation letter, Field cites antisemitism as a factor in his departure. To be clear, antisemitism is a sickening disease, it exists on a fringe of the left and there are some in denial over that fact. Both Labour and the broader left have to do far more: British Jews, tortured by a shared history of 2,000 years of persecution and an attempt to exterminate the entire European Jewish population within living memory, feel genuine anger and hurt. Which is why, in part, Field’s attempt to use an issue of deadly seriousness to wrap himself in the garbs of martyrdom is so transparently cynical.

Related: Labour needs to change. Frank Field’s resignation letter tells us how | Wes Streeting

Related: Frank Field not ruling out byelection after resigning Labour whip

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