Labour faces calls to disown Peterborough by-election candidate over anti-Semitic web posts

Labour blasted by Jewish groups over a ‘lack of moral leadership’ after failing to take action against Peterborough by-election candidate Lisa Forbes over anti-Semitic web posts

  • Social media posts liked by the candidate reference ‘Zionist Slave Masters’  
  • She also said she ‘enjoyed reading’ about an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory
  • Labour Against Anti-Semitism said behaviour was ‘shocking, but not surprising’
  • It demanded she be dropped ahead of close vote in Cambridgeshire 
  • Miss Forbes is contesting the by-election on Thursday in Peterborough
  • Previous Labour MP Fiona Onasanya lost the seat after lying about speeding 
  • Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt also weighed in to the row as Trump visit started

Labour faces a growing backlash today for failing to take action against its Peterborough by-election candidate after she made a grovelling apology for appearing to endorse anti-Semitic material. 

Social media posts by Lisa Forbes, Labour’s candidate in Thursday’s contest, include one from April in which she ‘liked’ a claim that Prime Minister Theresa May had a ‘Zionist Slave Masters agenda’.

She also commented under a post whose author championed conspiracy theories that Islamic extremists were created by the CIA and Israel’s intelligence service Mossad writing: ‘I’ve enjoyed reading this so much.’

She is standing in Thursday’s vote in the close marginal seat after the previous Labour MP, Fiona Onasanya, was thrown out of the Commons and the party after being jailed for lying to police.

Onasanya took the seat from the Tories by just 607 seats in 2017 and Ms Forbes has a strong chance of winning the seat for Labour. 

Jewish groups and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt tore into the party and leader Jeremy Corbyn today demanding she me removed as a candidate.

A spokesman for campaign group Labour Against Anti-Semitism (LAAS) said the revelations against her were ‘shocking, but not surprising’ .

‘If Mr Corbyn was in any way interested in upholding decent British values of tolerance and fairness, he would have immediately demanded that Ms Forbes stand down as Labour candidate when this information emerged,’ he said.

‘Instead, he travelled to Peterborough and campaigned for her in person – a tacit endorsement of her apparently appalling racist views.

‘We are once again witnessing an example of the Labour establishment failing to show moral leadership on the issue of anti-Jewish discrimination.’

Jeremy Corbyn pictured campaigning on Saturday with Lisa Forbes, who has been forced to apologise for appearing to endorse anti-Semitic material

Social media posts by Lisa Forbes include one from April in which she 'liked' a claim that Prime Minister Theresa May had a 'Zionist Slave Masters agenda'

Social media posts by Lisa Forbes include one from April in which she ‘liked’ a claim that Prime Minister Theresa May had a ‘Zionist Slave Masters agenda’

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt also weighed in to the row as Trump visit started

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt also weighed in to the row as Trump visit started

Yesterday, Miss Forbes apologised 'wholeheartedly for not calling out these posts'

Yesterday, Miss Forbes apologised ‘wholeheartedly for not calling out these posts’

Yesterday, Miss Forbes apologised ‘wholeheartedly for not calling out these posts’. 

Regarding the post about Mrs May, she said she had liked a video attached to it of ‘children praying in solidarity’ with victims of the Christchurch gun rampage in New Zealand and ‘not the views expressed in the accompanying text’.

Mr Hunt blasted Labour today, contrasting its boycott of the state visit of Donald Trump on morality grounds with its lack of action over Ms Forbes.

Mr Hunt, who greeted Donald Trump at Stansted Airport this morning, told Sky: ‘For the Labour Party to be boycotting this visit on the grounds of sexism and racism on a day where, in the newspapers, their candidate in the Peterborough by-election is being accused of liking an anti-Semitic post on Facebook, when they are being accused of turning a blind eye to terrible behaviour in the Labour party HQ, shows, I’m afraid, that this about virtue signalling on Labour’s side, this is not about any position of principal.’      

In a joint statement last night, Marie van der Zyl, the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Simon Johnson, the chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, and David Delew, chief executive of the Community Security Trust, said the posts ‘bring into question her suitability for public office’.

They added: ‘We are fed up hearing that Labour opposes anti-Semitism while repeatedly hearing excuses that its members accidentally missed the racist that was staring them in the face.

Miss Forbes is standing in Thursday's vote because the previous Labour MP, Fiona Onasanya, was thrown out of the Commons after being jailed for lying to police

Miss Forbes is standing in Thursday’s vote because the previous Labour MP, Fiona Onasanya, was thrown out of the Commons after being jailed for lying to police

Onasanya was jailed in January after being convicted of perverting the course of justice by lying to avoid a speeding charge

 Onasanya was jailed in January after being convicted of perverting the course of justice by lying to avoid a speeding charge

‘Unless Labour disown Lisa Forbes as a candidate, it will only confirm the party’s shameful descent into the racist mess for which they are now being investigated by the Equality And Human Rights Commission.’ Last night Miss Forbes apologised again, adding: ‘Anti-Semitism is abhorrent and has no place in our society.’

The Peterborough by-election was triggered when Fiona Onasanya lost the seat after she was jailed for lying about a speeding offence.

On Friday, senior Labour official Pete Willsman was suspended over a recording of him making allegedly anti-Semitic comments.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who was canvassing in Peterborough with Miss Forbes, refused to comment on whether his friend would be kicked out of the party.

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