The former Labor MP who left the party four years ago over anti-Semitism under Jeremy Corbyn has rejoined.
Luciana Berger, who is Jewish, left the party in February 2019saying that he cannot “stay in the party, which I came to the disgusting conclusion today, is institutionally anti-Semitic.”
But Labor Leader Sir Keir Starmer revealed that Ms Berger, MP for Liverpool Wavertree from 2010 to 2019, had accepted his invitation to rejoin the Labor Party.
“My test for change was whether those who were rightly terrified of how low we had fallen believed it was their party again,” he tweeted.
“I know we have more to do, but we are unrecognizable at the party that forced her.”
Sir Keir has shared photos of a letter he sent to Ms Berger apologizing “again on behalf of the whole party” for the “disgusting” anti-Semitic abuse she suffered during the Mr. Corbyn he was the leader.
He said she had been “forced into intimidation, banditry and racism” in a “stain on Labour’s history” and invited her back to the party.
Ms Berger lost her seat after joining the fledgling Change UK party and later the Liberal Democrats.
In her response to Sir Keir, Ms Berger said: “I look forward to returning to the party and working with you to continue what you started.
“It’s time to replace this reckless and divisive government and finally make the changes our country so desperately deserves.”
Labor has “fallen into the abyss” under Corbyn
Ms Berger said she was “happy” with the Equality and Human Rights Committee decision to stop monitoring the party for anti-Semitismbut added: “As you (Sir Keir) have rightly said, this is no moment to celebrate and there is much more to be done.”
She claimed the party “fell into the abyss under Jeremy Corbyn”.
“I never expected to witness the magnitude and toxicity of anti-Jewish racism practiced by people who were allowed to join the Labor Party, and to experience a leadership that treated anti-Semitism within the party differently from any other kind of racism – and that, refusing to condemn it, he encouraged him,” she said.
“But that’s what happened.”
Sir Keir wrote: “Before you were expelled from the party, you were an outstanding MP.”
He said the party and British politics were “poorer places” without her and apologized to her for the “unbearable and unacceptable” experiences she had had.
“The abuse you suffered was disgusting. You have been left isolated and exposed. Shamefully, those who should have defended you stood by.
“Labour – our party – has always prided itself on being a party of equality, collectivism, solidarity and anti-racism.
“But during those dark days, we were none of those things.”
Her return was applauded by several members of the party hierarchy, including Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves, who tweeted: “So glad you’re back, Luciana.”
Peter Kyle, a spokesman for the party in Northern Ireland, tweeted: “A touching and healing moment. Labor and Lucian… friends finally united. I am grateful to @Keir_Starmer for making this possible and I admire @lucianaberger’s strength and compassion for giving us this precious second chance. Work has changed for the better.”
Margaret Hodge, another Labor MP to criticize Mr Corbyn, tweeted: “Welcome back Luciano! It is very important that those who have been pushed out of the Labor Party because of vile anti-Semitism now feel able to return to their political home. he has come this far. Labor is once again a proudly outward-looking, tolerant and inclusive party.”
The Jewish Workers’ Movement added: “Our former Speaker of Parliament @lucianaberger is a hero of the Workers’ Movement. What happened to her under Corbyn’s leadership was a disgrace and she showed great courage. That he now feels it’s time to rejoin shows that the party is on the right track.”
Starmer rules out Corbyn’s Labor candidacy in the next election
Noting the EHRC’s decision to stop monitoring the party for anti-Semitism, Sir Keir he ruled out allowing Jeremy Corbyn to run as the Labor candidate in the next general election.
The human rights watchdog said in 2020 that the party had broken equality law in dealing with anti-Semitic complaints.
Mr Corbyn rejected some of the report’s findings and said the issue had been “dramatically inflated for political reasons” – comments that led to him being suspended from the party by Labor headquarters.
Mrs. Berger joined the board of the online used car retailer Cazoo in August 2021 as chairman of the Committee on Environment, Social Affairs and Governance (ESG).