Indian-origin economist and author Meghnad Desai resigned from the United Kingdom’s Labour Party on Thursday, citing the outfit’s failure to tackle anti-Semitic racism within the party ranks, reported PTI.
Desai, 80, who has been a Labour Party supporter for 49 years, said he was forced to take the decision after former party leader Jeremy Corbyn was readmitted after just 19 days of suspension despite findings of “unlawful acts” by the country’s human rights watchdog.
“It was a very peculiar decision to allow him back without any apology,” Desai said, according to PTI. “He has been refused the party whip in the House of Commons for a few months, but that is a very lame response to a very big crisis.”
Last month, the Labour Party had suspended Corbyn after he reportedly downplayed a report by the UK’s The Equality and Human Rights Commission on the “serious failings” in the party’s handling of anti-Semitism complaints during his 2015-2019 leadership, reported Reuters.
Corbyn had reacted to the report saying that the scale of the anti-Semitism problem within the party had been “overstated” by the media and his political opponents, and his attempts to deal with the matter had been blocked by “obstructive party bureaucracy”.
Later, on November 17, Corbyn was readmitted into the party. However, he remains suspended as a member of the Parliament for three months, according to Reuters.
Desai said that he was troubled by the entire episode and the manner in which the matter was handled by the party, reported PTI.
“I have been very uncomfortable and slightly ashamed that the party has been injected with this sort of racism,” Desai said. “Jewish MPs were abused openly, and female members were trolled. It is out and out racism.”
He further said that he did not see things changing “in the forseeable future”, adding that he had no plans of joining any other political party.
“I cannot go on being in an anti-Semitic party,” the author said.
He has sent in his resignation letter to the leader of the Labour Party in the House of Lords, Angela Smith, despite many appeals for him to reconsider. He will now sit as an independent peer while his application to be part of the Crossbench group of the UK Parliament’s Upper House is underway, according to PTI.