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Lord Meghnad Desai resigns from the Labor Party for racism

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The Indian-born economist, author and colleague left after former party leader Jeremy Corbyn was readmitted after just 19 days of suspension, despite findings of illegal action by the country’s human rights watchdog

Indian-born economist, author and colleague Lord Meghnad Desai has resigned as a member of the UK Opposition Labor Party because of its failure to effectively tackle anti-Semitic racism within its ranks.

The 80-year-old peer said he has only once been a Labor Party supporter but was forced to make the decision to cancel his membership on Thursday after 49 years after former party leader Jeremy Corbyn was readmitted after just 19 days of suspension despite findings of illegal actions by the country’s human rights observer.

It was a very special decision to allow him to return without any apology. He has been rejecting the party whip in the House of Commons for several months, but that is a very lame response to a very big crisis, Lord Desai said.

I was very uncomfortable and a little ashamed that this kind of racism was injected into the party. Jewish MPs were openly abused and female members were checked. Racism out and out of racism, he said.

The Labor Party has been plagued by allegations of anti-Semitism over the years, with its catastrophic electoral defeat in the December 2019 elections also linked to the crisis.

Sir Keir Starmer took office as the new party leader this year with the promise to remove the party from the plague and had taken the step of suspending Mr. Corbyn last month as he seemed to downplay the highly critical findings of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). The observer had discovered that Labor had broken the law in their failure to address anti-Semitism, or anti-Jewish, grievances, and there were serious failures by its leadership at the time.

I do not see things really changing in the foreseeable future and I finally have to live with my conscience. I can not continue to be in an anti-Semitic party, said Lord Desai, although he stressed that he has no plans to join any other political party.

He has sent his resignation letter to Labor Party leader in the House of Lords, Baroness Angela Smith, and despite many calls for him to reconsider, he will now stand as an independent colleague while his request to be part of The Crossbench group of the UK House of Commons is under development.

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