A cabinet member of Haringey’s Labour Council has defied calls to step down from his role prompted by his claim that recent defections by Labour MPs had “nothing to do with antisemitism” and criticising the suspension of Chris Williamson MP for saying that his party has been “too apologetic” over the issue.
Noah Tucker, who is cabinet member for corporate services and insourcing with the so-called “Corbyn Council”, had been urged to quit by Liz Morris, leader of the opposition Liberal Democrat Group, after a recording of a speech by Tucker was published by the website Red Roar.
In a statement reported by the Evening Standard, Tucker said he fully supports “the work of the party leadership to fight antisemitism and I would never seek to downplay the seriousness or importance of the fight against it”. Morris called this response “deeply disappointing”. The Standard also reported that Ilford North MP Wes Streeting, vice-chair of the all-party parliamentary group against anti-semitism, believes Tucker should be sacked from the cabinet.
On London asked the Haringey Labour Group if, in the light of Tucker’s comments, council leader Joseph Ejiofor, who appointed Tucker to his cabinet job after the elections last May, still considers him a suitable person to be in his team, but, twelve hours later, at the time of this article’s publication, there had been no response.
Ejiofor sacked two other members of his cabinet on New Year’s Eve, saying this was necessary in order to build “a cabinet team able to work closely together to deliver our manifesto”.
In January, one of the sacked cabinet members, Peray Ahmet, wrote to Tucker about his progress in his cabinet role and why he had commissioned the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) to look at insourcing council work done by two other contractors. In an email seen by On London, she remarked that, “It would be more than ironic if we continued to outsource the insourcing in this way”, and appearing to question Tucker’s productivity by asking: “When can we see these plans you that you have been working on for eight months?”
Tucker, who used to publish the now-defunct Far Left website 21st Century Socialism, was sacked from his job at Hackney Council in 2001, where he was also a trade union organiser. The union, Unison, claimed that Tucker had been victimised because of the amount of time he spent on union business. Tucker was supported in his dispute with Hackney by the Socialist Workers Party and the Socialist Party, formerly known as Militant.
In June 2016, Tucker highlighted on Facebook a motion passed by the Haringey branch of Momentum, the activist group formed to support the leadership of Labour by Jeremy Corbyn, which characterised suspensions of Labour figures at the time as a “witch hunt” resulting from a campaign emanating from the right wing of Labour and others to “shut down” debate about the Middle East. Tucker was first elected as a councillor at a by-election held four months later.