Haringey councillor defiant after backing MP who said Labour had been ‘too apologetic’ over antisemitism

Cllr Noah Tucker. Picture: David Winskill

Cllr Noah Tucker. Picture: David Winskill - Credit: Archant

A Haringey cabinet member has remained defiant after backing former Labour MP Chris Williamson, who was suspended last week for saying the party had been “too apologetic” about antisemitism.

There have been calls for Noah Tucker, who is the council’s “insourcing” and corporate services chief, to apologise and resign after his comments at a local party meeting on February 27.

He told the meeting: “You wouldn’t know it from the media, but this formation of a splinter group and the resignation of a small number of our MPs has nothing whatsoever to do with antisemitism, [...] allegations of bullying [or] Brexit.

“It has everything to do with an attempt to protect the power, the privilege and the huge wealth of a tiny minority of people who [profit] from exploitation, privatisation and austerity.”

He also said the resignations were an attempt to promote a foreign policy “based on promoting imperialist war and shoring up corrupt, absolutist regimes like our chummy friends in Saudi Arabia”.

He also criticised Chris Williamson’s suspension, saying it was something members should “worry about.” According to a partial clip of his speech posted online, Cllr Tucker said Williamson had action taken against him “for the crime of speaking of the truth”.

Mr Williamson, the MP for Derby North, was suspended last week for saying for saying Labour had been “too apologetic” about antisemitism within the party.

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In a statement, Cllr Noah Tucker said: “I am absolutely committed to tackling antisemitism within our party and wider society. I fully support the work of the party leadership to fight antisemitism.

“I would never seek to downplay the seriousness or importance of the fight against it.”

After the recording came to light, Haringey’s Lib Dem opposition called for Cllr Tucker to resign.

The party’s leader Cllr Liz Morris said: “Cllr Tucker’s response is deeply disappointing.

“He claims that he would never downplay the seriousness of antisemitism but anyone who has heard the recording knows that’s exactly what he did.”

The Highgate councillor added: “His obvious lack of remorse makes it even clearer that the decent thing for him to do is to resign.”