The Indian-born economist, author and peer Lord Meghnad Desai has resigned as a member of the British opposition Labor Party because he did not effectively fight anti-Semitic racism within his ranks.
The 80-year-old peer said he had only been a Labor Party supporter so far but had to make the decision to terminate his membership on Thursday after 49 years after former party leader Jeremy Corbyn returned after just 19 days of suspension despite results from “Unlawful acts” by the country’s human rights watchdog were recorded.
“It was a very strange decision to leave him with no apology. He was denied the party whip in the House of Commons for a few months, but that is a very lame response to a very big crisis,” said Lord Desai.
“I felt very uncomfortable and a little ashamed that the party was injected with this type of racism. Jewish MPs were openly abused and female members were trolled. It’s racism,” he said.
The Labor Party has been plagued by allegations of anti-Semitism over the years, and its catastrophic defeat in the December 2019 election was also linked to the crisis.
Sir Keir Starmer took office as the new party leader earlier this year with a promise to rid the party of the scourge and took the step last month to suspend Corbyn after reviewing the very critical findings of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) seemed to downplay).
The watchdog discovered that Labor had broken the law by failing to address anti-Semitism or anti-Jewish complaints, and there were “serious shortcomings” in its leadership at the time.
“I don’t see any real changes anytime soon and will ultimately have to live with my conscience. I cannot continue to be in an anti-Semitic party,” said Lord Desai, although he insisted he had no plans to join any other political party.
He has sent his resignation letter to the Labor Party leader in the House of Lords, Baroness Angela Smith, and despite many appeals to him to reconsider, he will now sit as an independent peer while he is part of Crossbench A group of the House of Lords of the British Parliament is underway.