Labour official claims anti-Semitism row is attack on Jeremy Corbyn, before apologising

Senior Labour official claims anti-Semitism row is attack on Jeremy Corbyn, before apologising

The anti-Semitism row in Labour continues

Friday, March 30, 2018

The row over anti-Semitism in the Labour Party is being "stirred up" to attack Jeremy Corbyn, the senior official forced to quit over her role in handling complaints has claimed.

Christine Shawcroft stood down as disputes panel chairwoman after opposing the suspension of a council candidate accused of Holocaust denial.

Some 39 MPs and peers have since signed an open letter calling for Shawcroft to be suspended from the National Executive Committee (NEC).

Shawcroft had posted a statement on Facebook which said she is "not a Holocaust denier and I would not support a Holocaust denier."

She claimed she's "been trying to support members who have been affected by all the shenanigans around Council selections" and believed "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."

Whilst she admitted it was "entirely right" to step down from her position on the disputes panel, she claimed the "whole row is being stirred up to attack Jeremy."

Siobhain McDonagh, a Labour MP and lead signatory of the letter, told the BBC the group felt "very strongly" about the issue.

The letter claims it's "highly offensive to the Jewish community" that Shawcroft remains a member of the NEC. It was also signed by MPs such as Mike Gapes and Luciana Berger. 

In a later Facebook post, Shawcroft issued a new statement removing the comments about the row being stirred up.

She also said she was "deeply sorry" for the way she had handled the complaint about the local council candidate and knew "how much hurt it has caused."

She added that she has already announced she will not seek re-election to the NEC so will be leaving in the summer.

Corbyn has said he hopes Passover will mark a move towards closer relations with the Jewish community and has insisted he is an "ally" in the fight against anti-Semitism.

However a Jewish Labour peer claims the Labour leader has "encouraged and endorsed" anti-Semites. Lord Winston said hostility to Jews has "infected the Labour Party so it's become endemic."