Outrage over official’s claim anti-semitism is ‘stirred up’
A SENIOR Labour official has sparked outrage after claiming the row over anti-semitism in the party is being “stirred up” to attack UK leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Christine Shawcroft was forced to stand down as chairwoman of Labour’s disputes panel after questioning the suspension of a council candidate accused of being a Holocaust denier.
But in a post on Facebook, she insisted the whole row was being used as an excuse to attack Mr Corbyn.
She wrote: “In case anyone has been misled by the press coverage, I am not a Holocaust denier and I would not support a Holocaust denier.
“I have been trying to support members who have been affected by all the shenanigans around council selections, and thought this case was just another one of those.
“I had not seen the appalling and abhorrent post which was shared, and if I had seen it I would not have sent the supportive email.
“As soon as I saw it I told the member that he should have anti-semitism training.”
Ms Shawcroft said it was “entirely right” that she had quit her role chairing the disputes panel.
She added: “This whole row is being stirred up to attack Jeremy, as we all know. That someone who has spent his whole life fighting racism in all its forms should find himself being accused of not doing enough to counter it, absolutely beggars belief.”
Ms Shawcroft resigned earlier this week after the email in which she questioned the suspension of Peterborough council candidate Alan Bull was made public.
Some 39 MPS and peers have since signed an open letter calling for her to be suspended from the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC). It comes amid a wider row over anti-semitism in the UK Labour Party, with Mr Corbyn expressing his “sincere regret” after it emerged he had questioned the removal of a blatantly anti-semitic mural in London.
Mr Corbyn has said he hopes Passover will mark a move towards closer relations with the Jewish community and insisted he is an “ally” in the fight against anti-semitism.
But a Jewish Labour peer said the party leader had “encouraged and endorsed” anti-semites. Lord Winston said hostility to Jews has “infected the Labour Party so it’s become endemic”.
Labour MP Siobhain Mcdonagh, lead signatory of the letter calling for Ms Shawcroft to be removed from the NEC, said the group felt “very strongly” about the issue.
Members of Scotland’s Eastwood constituency branch have written an open letter to Jewish leaders expressing their “deep sense of shame” over the row.
Blair Mcdougall, who stood as the party’s local candidate at the last General Election, said the move was to “express solidarity to the community at a time when they are really worried to see a party that’s traditionally been an ally of anti-racism finding itself in this situation”.
He said “an enormous amount of hurt” had been caused by how slowly Labour had dealt with the problem.
In a later Facebook post, Ms Shawcroft issued a new statement removing the comments about the row being stirred up.
This whole row is being stirred up to attack Jeremy Corbyn