Alex Sobel speaks out over 'difficult issue' of antisemitism as he doubles his majority in Leeds North West

Alex Sobel took a swipe at antisemitism in the Labour Party along with campaigning methods by his opponents, as he comfortably held onto his Leeds North West seat.

Friday, 13th December 2019, 5:43 am
Updated Friday, 13th December 2019, 5:44 am

The Labour MP, who was first elected in 2017, more than doubled his majority to more than 10,000, as he swept to victory with 23,971 votes.

But he also spoke out about how he feels his party needs to reform in order to get back into government.

Speaking at the count, he said: “Our country has suffered from nine years of cuts. People come to me needing housing and support that isn’t available to them.

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Sobel gave an impassioned speech at the count in Leeds Arena.

“I am truly disappointed that I cannot be part of the government that can deliver that manifesto. I will reflect over the next few days on what went wrong. I think the Labour party needs to take this time to reflect and needs to choose a new leader.

“I was the only new Jewish MP elected at the last election. Antisemitism has been an absolute and utter difficult issue.

“If the Labour Party does not resolve this issue, it will never become a party of government in this country again. It is incumbent on me and other Labour MPs to ensure there are no further issues of antisemitism in this party.”

He also hit out at the campaigning methods from the Lib Dems: “I remember two very difficult elections against Greg (Mulholland). He was very combative and at times I found some of his literature difficult.

“In this election, that trend has got worse. I hope the Liberal Democrats can reflect that they far outspent us on a campaign that was vindictive, vitriolic and unkind, and in future have a positive campaign.”

Following long-serving Tory MP Keith Hampson, the seat was won by Harold Best for Labour in Tony Blair’s landslide 1997 victory. He held the seat for eight years before it was taken by the Lib Dems for Greg Mulholland in 2005.

Mulholland increased his majority to nearly 10,000 amid the “Clegg-mania” wave in 2010, but this was gradually chipped away by Labour until Alex Sobel won the seat back in 2017.

Sobel had sat on a majority of just 4,224 at the 2017 election.

RESULTS

Alex Sobel (Labour and Co-operative Party) – 23,971

Martin Hemingway (Green Party) – 1,389

Kamran Hussain (Liberal Democrats) – 9,397

Stewart Harper (Conservative) – 13,222

Graeme Alan Webber (Brexit Party) – 1,304