UK Politics

Lady Tonge, ex-Lib Dem peer, considers joining Labour

Lady Tonge Image copyright PA

Former Lib Dem peer Lady Tonge, who quit the party whip over its policy on Israel, says she's considering joining Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party.

And she said she was "favourably impressed" by leaders of the Palestinian militants Hamas.

Lady Tonge currently sits as an independent peer, but remains a member of the Liberal Democrats.

In a BBC interview she said she would decide "by Christmas" whether to take the Labour whip in the Lords.

"I have met Hamas leaders both in Damascus and in Gaza. So has Jeremy Corbyn," she said.

"We were all favourably impressed by those people. We all feel it was very very important to listen to their point of view.

"They said a lot of wise things."

Lady Tonge, a former Lib Dem MP, also said that peace talks should involve senior figures from so-called Islamic State.

"They're not friends, but I think people should meet them. We've got to bring in Isis leaders and you've got to bring in Assad. You've got to talk to all the people who are involved."

Lady Tonge resigned the Lib Dem whip in 2012 after saying that Israel would not exist forever in its present form.

At the time the Board of Deputies of British Jews called the remarks "sinister and abhorrent."

Giving his reaction to Lady Tonge's latest comments, Gavin Stollar, chairman of Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel, said: "Jenny Tonge does not sit as a Liberal Democrat Peer in the House of Lords and for good reason.

"If she is as impressed by Hamas as she is with Jeremy Corbyn maybe she should stop threatening to join the Labour Party and take a principled stand by joining them."

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