This week’s newspapers have made uncomfortable reading for Hastings and Rye MP and Home Secretary Amber Rudd.
As the week draws to a close calls for her resignation as Home Secretary continue to echo around the corridors of power. But while Ms Rudd may be the most high profile local politician making national headlines, Leah Levane who is standing for Labour in next week’s elections to Hastings Borough Council is making waves for an entirely different reason. Ms Levane who represents Jewish Voice for Labour has found herself at the centre of the Labour party’s row over antisemitism.
While the row over the Home Secretary’s future has so far been confined to the national press and parliament it took on a whole new local dimension this morning when a former Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate for Hastings and Rye, Nick Perry, launched a blistering attack on his one-time political rival.
Mr Perry, the Liberal Democrat candidate at the last three General Elections, attacked the government over the Windrush scandal and called for Ms Rudd to resign.
Speaking to Hastings In Focus, Mr Perry said: “I have known Amber Rudd for over ten years now, she has always presented as someone who would like to be thought of as an honourable person and now, after what has been happening in her own department regarding the Windrush generation, and the deportations, and the family bereavements that have ensued – whether started on her watch or someone else’s – she must show that she is someone who can be trusted to do the right thing.
“Honorable leaders take responsibility. British Caribbeans in Hastings, St Leonards, and all around the country need to be shown that they are welcome and valued; and that the government is ashamed of the actions that have been taken by bureaucrats under their control.
“I am not someone who rushes to call for resignations but this is the kind of disgusting, shaming policy, which underlines the reality that institutional racism is alive and kicking in British society.
“It is a racism that has been given a shot in the arm by the government’s incompetent and damaging approach to Brexit.
“Amber Rudd’s voice around the Cabinet table on Brexit will be sorely missed by Remainers like me but there are some things that are just too important. If she is to retain the respect that she has built in many parts of this constituency, she must do the right thing. She must resign as Home Secretary.”
Meanwhile Ms Levane is right at the centre of the row which has engulfed the national Labour party over antisemitism. Ms Levane believes the accuations of antisemitism within the party are being used to smear party leader Jeremy Corbyn and she has been standing up and saying so.
However she has come under attack from the Board of Deputies of British Jews who said they would refuse to attend a meeting with Jremy Corbyn held earlier this week if Ms Levane and her Jewish Voice for Labour were going to be involved. And she has come under attack in The Jewish Chronicle this week in a piece by David Arronovitch. She has even been in Ms Rudd’s sights, she said earlier this week: “…Leah Lavane made headlines in the Times and Jewish Chronicle for her offensive criticism of mainstream Jews who dare to challenge Labour antisemitism – seeing them as undermining Corbyn.”
From BBC News, a summary Windrush scandal and the Home Secretary’s difficulties so far…
An interview with Leah Levane recorded outside parliament at the end of March