‘Jewish grandmother’ Islington councillor defends Jeremy Corbyn in TV clash
Cllr Sue Lukes, who represents Highbury East, took aim at former Labour MP over anti-semitism claims
27 September, 2019 — By Emily Finch in Brighton
Cllr Sue Lukes and former Labour MP Ian Austin in front of the cameras
THE political jousting was not just confined to within the walls of Brighton Centre where this year’s Labour Party conference was taking place.
One Islington councillor took aim at former Labour MP Ian Austin as he drew TV crews over to denounce Jeremy Corbyn in front of a portable neon sign which read: “Jeremy Corbyn: Unfit to lead the Labour Party, Unfit to lead the country.”
The former Labour MP for Dudley North resigned in February and now sits as an independent in parliament after accusing the Islington North MP of failing to tackle anti-semitism claims within the party.
Cllr Sue Lukes, who represents Highbury East, and is a self-confessed “Jewish grandmother who has no problem saying my opinions”, criticised Mr Austin in front of the cameras for his attempts to embarrass her local MP.
She was heard saying: “I am not having a decent man slandered like that, Jeremy Corbyn is not an anti-semite.
“I can tell you because I am a Jewish member of the party and I know Jeremy Corbyn is not an anti-semite and how dare you say that.”
It appears that Mr Austin was at conference – or the area surrounding it – to try to promote his new cross-party campaign “Mainstream” which aims to tackle “extremism” in politics.
After the confrontation, Cllr Lukes told the Tribune: “I was just angry. From a point of view of a councillor I see extremism all the time. I see a family of five in one-bedroom flats, I’ve got people unable to get their kids into mental health services and that’s extremism.
“It makes me really mad when people do a little sort of media circus about having a go at an essentially decent man who has made it his work to try to change everything for the better, and I told him what I thought.”