Barry Gardiner’s support for India's far right

Submitted by AWL on 16 November, 2021 - 8:40
Barry Gardiner and Narendra Modi

Brent North Labour MP Barry Gardiner has been prominent opposing “fire and rehire”. He has joined demonstrations at the Clarks dispute in Somerset, far from his constituency.

He has good connections in the unions, and in the Corbyn years he seemed to have a surprising amount of support from people who saw themselves as part of the Labour left.

Yet as far as I can see Gardiner, who loyally served Tony Blair as a minister, is a self-serving opportunist. Still, a Labour MP who backs a strike for opportunist reasons can still help boost the dispute. However there is much worse than mere opportunism in Gardiner's record.

Gardiner is also a close ally and advocate of India’s far-right prime minister Narendra Modi. This is well-established. Gardiner has featured a quote from Modi in his election literature and appeared in India’s media to attack those who raise his ally’s role in anti-Muslim violence, including the 2002 Gujarat massacres. When Modi’s far-right government won re-election in 2019, Gardiner tweeted:

As Indian Prime Minister @narendramodi wins a second term we congratulate him for his message: “Our alliance represents India’s diversity and our agenda is India’s progress” celebrating the country’s diversity. I look forward to deepening our friendship and trade.

At Labour Party conference this year I encountered Gardiner at the Labour Unions meeting launching Andy McDonald’s New Deal for Working People document. As everyone left, I approached him and politely asked about his support for Modi and the Indian far right.

Gardiner told me he doesn’t “agree with Modi on everything”, but they are “friends”. He told me very clearly that he does not support the Indian farmers’ and workers’ movements opposing Modi’s government and that he supports that government’s pro-corporate agricultural measures.

He promised to send me something more detailed explaining why, and I gave him my e-address, but never got anything.

Imagine if in 2019 a Labour MP had tweeted praising Trump or Netanyahu’s commitment to “diversity”, and defended himself against criticism by saying they are friends.

Moreover Gardiner is not alone. The pro-Modi Labour Friends of India (LFIN) group seems to be gaining strength in the party. Keir Starmer seems supportive of LFIN and has sought to conciliate the Hindu far right.

Sacha Ismail, London

Comments

Submitted by AWL on Fri, 14/01/2022 - 10:53

You can read about this in the mainstream media, who know more than we do. It doesn't seem in dispute that he received such donations.

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