Lisa Forbes under fire from Labour colleagues for 'antisemitism'

Lisa Forbes

Lisa Forbes is the newly-elected Labour MP for Peterborough

Friday, June 7, 2019

The victory of Labour’s Lisa Forbes in the Peterborough by-election shows “antisemitism is becoming normal in the party”, according to a fellow Labour MP.

Jess Phillips said she was glad the Brexit Party had been defeated, however she could not be as “gleeful or proud” as she wanted to be about the Labour victory because Ms Forbes had “ignored and endorsed antisemitic things" in the past.

Ms Forbes was criticised in the run-up to the by-election for liking a Facebook post that said Theresa May had a “Zionist slave masters agenda”.

She later apologised for “not calling out these posts” and pledged to challenge antisemitism in the future.

Ms Phillips said: “I'll take her explanation and apology at face value and look forward to her proving, as others have, that actions not excuses alone can heal.

“But with every case the party’s values chip away and our ability to stand up against hate erodes.”

Ilford North MP Wes Streeting said he chose not to campaign for Labour in Peterborough to demonstrate a “zero tolerance” approach.

He said her behaviour was "serious enough to warrant disciplinary action" adding: "She has apologised, but it is not my place to accept it."

“She will need to work hard to persuade the Jewish Labour Movement and wider community that her apology was meaningful and that she is genuinely committed to tackling antisemitism,” he added.

Both Ms Phillips and Mr Streeting are prominent critics of Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour leadership.

Shadow cabinet minister Andy McDonald said he was “discomfited” by the unrest, but felt Ms Forbes should be given credit for apologising.

Before she was elected, Ms Forbes promised to deepen her understanding of antisemitism so she could challenge it “wherever it occurs”.

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