Jeremy Corbyn meets with anti-LGBT activist who protested outside school
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is under fire for meeting with an activist who joined anti-LGBT protests outside a primary school.
The embattled Labour Party leader is facing anger after meeting with Shraga Stern, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish activist who has been vocal in his criticism of LGBT-inclusive education.
Corbyn, his wife Laura Alvarez and shadow international development secretary Dan Carden met with Stern on Wednesday (July 17), the Jewish Chronicle reports.
Jeremy Corbyn met with activist who took part in anti-LGBT protests, slammed Jewish leaders
Stern is a vocal opponent of LGBT+ education who attended a protest outside Birmingham’s Parkfield Primary School in March.
In a Facebook video filmed outside Parkfield, Stern attacked the “problem of indoctrination and sexualising kids,” which he claims takes place “all over the country.”
He added: “These LGBT lobbies have come in to the education system. We parents must stand up for our rights and we must fight for our freedom… to educate the children the way we were educated.”
Stern was also behind a legal challenge earlier this year, arguing that the Department of Education was violating his human rights by requiring schools to teach children about gay people.
The activist has publicly hit out at Jewish community leaders over the issue, accusing the Board of Deputies of failing to represent Orthodox voices.
LGBT Labour and Jewish Labour Movement condemn meeting
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In a statement, the party’s LGBT+ group LGBT Labour said: “When the debate about inclusive education is provoking division and anger, and increased attacks on LGBT+ people it is disgraceful that the leader of the Labour party would knowingly engage with someone with these views.”
A Jewish Labour Movement spokesperson said: “It’s a shame that the only representatives of any part of the Jewish community that Corbyn is prepared to listen to are those from its most reactionary sections.
“Shraga Stern has been an inveterate campaigner against children being taught that LGBT people exist. His views and tactics do not represent the vast bulk of the Jewish community.”
A Labour Party spokesperson told PinkNews: “The Labour Party has long supported and campaigned for LGBT+ inclusive education in schools, and the achievement of cross Party support for legislation this year was a significant step forward in the struggle for LGBT+ equality.
“There is not only a moral imperative to teach LGBT+ inclusive education, there is also a legal requirement under the Equality Act, which all schools must comply with. There is no justifiable reason to stop the teaching of these issues.
“To teach children about relationships and omit the fact that LGBT+ couples exist is fundamentally discriminatory.
“At a time when levels of homophobic and transphobic hate crime are rising in our society, it is more important than ever that we educate young people.”
Sources clarified that while Corbyn met and had lunch with Stern, it was not a formal meeting.