The Londoner: Jewish body won’t sever Labour link

Still in the fold: Jeremy Corbyn (Getty Images): Getty Images

The Board of Deputies, the country’s main representative body of the Jewish community, has resisted calls to sever links with the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn after this year’s anti-Semitism storm.

The group met for an October Plenary meeting yesterday, following suggestions that it should “terminate contact” with Corbyn, whose response to the row has been widely criticised as insufficient. But Marie van der Zyl, the board’s president, has refused. “If the Board were to stop engaging with Labour, we would lose all our power,” she said. “Suspending relations with the party may create headlines but it would get us nowhere. I have always said that engagement does not mean concessions.”

The board had been asked to consider cutting ties by one of its members after several accusations of anti-Semitism against the Labour leadership. This included Corbyn “liking” a mural depicting heavily stereotyped Jewish bankers playing Monopoly on the backs of slaves, and evidence emerging of his presence at a wreath- laying ceremony for the Black September terrorists.

The Labour Party was engulfed by the storm when it stalled on adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism over the summer.

It finally agreed to adopt the resolution in full in September.

The Board of Deputies has had little contact with the Labour Party since then, but that communication channels are still open. Labour MPs Luciana Berger and Dame Louise Ellman are also members of the BoD.

Van der Zyl paid tribute to Labour MPs, including Berger and Dame Margaret Hodge, who have received anti-Semitic abuse, saying that cutting links to the party would “hang out to dry those fighting the good fight”.

Ideal coverage for BBC man in Sudan

BBC correspondent Peter Martell launched his book First Raise a Flag at Lambeth Palace last week. It’s an account of reporting from war-torn South Sudan. Among his audience was Baroness Cox and BBC diplomatic editor James Landale. Martell recalled that being a journalist offered a greater chance to explore the country than the aid workers and diplomats stuck behind barbed wire fences. “I lived in a tent I had originally bought to go to a music festival,” he told the assembled dignitaries. “Later I was lucky and graduated to a corrugated iron shack.”


With Nick Clegg accepting a Facebook job in Silicon Valley, initial suggestions were that Miriam González Durántez, his wife, would quit law. “The fact I have resigned from my current firm does not mean I will give up my job as a lawyer,” she wrote on Instagram. “How presumptuous of you to assume that — bet you would not do that to a man!”

I’m McQueen Bee

Steve McQueen, the Turner Prize and Academy Award winner, says self-belief trumps his literacy issues. “I never thought I was anything other than brilliant,” McQueen says. “My whole life has been people underestimating me and me transcending those expectations.

“I could always draw. I had imagination. My imagination was never hindered by the fact of my reading being bad. Never, never.”

McQueen, a Goldsmiths graduate, briefly attended a New York film school. “People didn’t know who Cézanne was,” he says. “I mean, come on.”

Time’s Up makes a film festival stand

BFI London Film Festival festivities continued this weekend, as Persol hosted a party at Unit in Mayfair on Saturday night, ahead of last night’s closing gala of the annual film showcase.

Actor Sai Bennett, designer Marissa Montgomery and presenter Zara Martin came together for a DJ set from Jarvis Cocker. Russell Tovey and Anya Taylor-Joy also attended, with Andrea Riseborough proudly sporting a Time’s Up badge. As a founder of Time’s Up UK, Riseborough’s stand for women in Hollywood goes beyond a badge. Her new film, Nancy, is the first the actor has produced with her new majority-women production company. The drama, which she also stars in, was created by “80 per cent female crew and 60 per cent people of colour”.

Asked if she would like to make a return to blockbusters, the Death of Stalin star said recently that “that would f***ing kill me, I don’t know whether I could deal with the misogyny.”


Grayson Perry dazzled at the Alternative Miss World Pageant at Shakespeare’s Globe this weekend. The event, which has been described as a “combination of extremely rude, very camp Christmas panto and pansexual beauty pageant”, was first held in its founder Andrew Logan’s Hackney flat in 1972.

Pageant Party: Grayson Perry (Getty Images)


The Johnsons aren’t the only political dynasty in town, as Amber Rudd would have you know. Speaking on Nick Robinson’s Political Thinking podcast, the former Home Secretary was quick to correct Robinson’s assertion: “They’re a sort of mini Johnson family, the Rudds, aren’t they?” Rudd, whose brother Roland is an influential PR and chairman of Open Britain, replied: “There’s nothing mini about us. Especially if you’re going to compare us to the Johnsons.”


New research from CapX, run by the Centre for Policy Studies, reveals a clear split on political leanings and breakfast habits. Playing against Marxist type, your “66-year-old, muesli-muncher” is more likely to vote Conservative. Regular eaters of fry-ups predominantly vote Labour. Unsurprisingly, Remain voters showed a fondness for European fare, polling a 19 per cent lead in the consumers of croissants category. Brexit means breakfast…

Quote of the Day

“We are not a set of clones, we don’t always agree on absolutely everything.” Transport Secretary Chris Grayling reminds Today programme listeners that Cabinet colleagues don’t always concur.