Rosie Duffield has admitted she is considering whether to remains in politics as the Labour Party’s anti-semitism row continues to rage.
Earlier this week, the Canterbury Journal exclusively revealed that Ms Duffield faced a motion to censure her for her decision to attend a protest against anti-semitism within the Labour Party.
The 47-year-old, elected Labour’s first ever MP in Canterbury just over a year ago, now says the furore has proved a gigantic distraction and must consider the effect upon her and her family.
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The motion, supported by 20 just hardline activists within the Canterbury party, was later withdrawn after a discussion.
Speaking to The Guardian yesterday (Thursday), Ms Duffield said: “I have a tiny majority and it’s such a shame we haven’t stuck together more and resolved some more of these issues. It is this small, tiny faction of about 1% of the party locally.”
Ms Duffield, who defeated Conservative Sir Julian Brazier by just 187 votes in last June’s elections, says that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been privately supportive.
But he has also stated that such matters are for local party members.
Other moderate MPs have been the subject of no confidence motions which may ultimately lead to their deselection as Corbynite hardliners attempt to strengthen their grip on the party.
Ms Duffield said: “I am not an anti-Corbyn MP just because I am standing up to anti-semitism. That is a really clear line we could adopt.
“It would be really nice if Jeremy could help each MP going through this with a personal statement, to make it clear that people – even those who do it without knowing it – don’t do it in his name.”
Ms Duffield added that she had seen first hand experience of the hatred directed towards Jewish MPs: “They have been systematically abused and trolled and had hideous comments and even death threats by people, some within our party, and that’s not OK.”
Ms Duffield also told the paper that having to deal with the row this week had meant she could not attend a debate on fracking.
“I didn’t get to write a decent speech, so I didn’t feel I could go to the debate, and it’s actually something I really care about and my constituents care about,” she said. “So it’s a huge drain on my energy, on my time and it’s distracting from what I’m really here to do.
“Sometimes you have to ask yourself if positives outweigh negatives, and whether it is worth the effect it is having on my family.”