Sara Conway

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Sara Conway is the former Labour Party prospective parliamentary candidate (PPC) in the Finchley and Golders Green constituency who was selected in March 2019 and announced she was standing down in September 2019:

"Due to personal matters I decided to stand down last night as the Labour Party’s candidate for Finchley and Golders Green with immediate effect.
"Thank you for all your support over the past 5 months. Also to everyone who has contacted me today with love and support from across our Party, Borough and beyond.
"I look forward to continuing my work as a Councillor in Burnt Oak and in Barnet, working with all our local communities."[1]

Background

Sources close to Sara Conway told the Jewish Chronicle she believed she could not continue as Labour's parliamentary candidate in the marginal seat after the reaction from Jewish voters over her comments that antisemitism had been "weaponised".

In the interview last week with the Jewish News, Ms Conway sparked fury by saying:

"You can’t weaponise without there being a problem but this issue has been weaponised by certain media commentators. I don’t mean necessarily in the community."

While stressing that she was not seeking to “dismiss or push back” claims about antisemitism she said she felt the row had been “whipped up”.

The Barnet councillor later conceded she "used the wrong word by saying weaponised" and then claimed she was "referring to Far Right commentators particularly on Twitter who use this issue as a political football to create polarisation and division."

The JC understands the Jewish Labour Movement member was left "devastated" by the reaction to the interview and felt she would rather stand down than face inevitable further scrutiny over her comments during the election that is expected in the next few weeks.

Another source said Ms Conway was busy with exhaustive family commitments over recent months and felt she would not be able to give enough time to campaigning in any upcoming election.

In a statement released on Tuesday night Ms Conway wrote:

"Due to personal matters I have decided to stand down as the Labour Party’s candidate for Finchley and Golders Green with immediate effect.
"I would like to thank the Finchley and Golders Green Labour Party for all their support over the past five months."

Ms Conway had initially been convinced to put herself forward as a candidate in a constituency where 20 per cent of the electorate are Jewish in a bid to stop pro-Jeremy Corbyn Momentum candidates from standing.

At one stage there was widespread speculation that Jenny Manson, a leading member of the pro-Corbyn, fringe group Jewish Voice for Labour could put herself forward to stand with the backing of Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.

But after winning the selection contest Ms Conway received constant questions from the electorate about her decision to represent a party that stands accused of institutional antisemitism.

Her most recent interview appeared to be an attempt to move away from discussing Labour's racism problem - while at the same time emphasising her own Jewish identity.

But her clarification after the interview did little to stem the anger it provoked.

Tory condemnation

Mike Freer, the current Tory MP in the constituency was amongst those to slam her remarks saying:

“I condemn the idea that antisemitism has been ‘weaponised’ or ‘drummed up’.
"Tell that to the number of Labour activists and MPs like Dame Margaret Hodge.
"To suggest that the Equality and Human Rights Commission have launched an investigation into Labour as being complicit in weaponising the issue is laughable. The Labour candidate shows how out of touch and complacent the Labour Party have become.”

New PPC

Finchley and Golders Green Labour Party now face the task of selecting a new candidate to fight the seat with a possible election only weeks away.[2]

There is speculation that Jenny Manson, co-Chair of Jewish Voice for Labour, could put herself forward to stand as the prospective parliamentary candidate (PPC) with the backing of Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.[3]

 

Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:The Unprincipled – and Potentially Racist – Lib Demsblog post13 September 2019Craig MurrayIf LibDem candidate Clareine Enderby is indeed replaced by Luciana Berger she will be a victim of racism, as the sole grounds on which Ms Berger is being touted as preferable for the 20% Jewish Finchley and Golders Green constituency is her ethnicity.


References