Calls for New Peterborough MP to Lose Whip over Antisemitism Allegation

PETERBOROUGH, ENGLAND - JUNE 01: British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and the party's prospective parliamentary candidate Lisa Forbes talk to supporters in the run up to the Peterborough by-election on June 01, 2019 in Peterborough, England. The Peterborough by-election takes place on 6 June after the removal of former …
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The Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) has requested the party whip be withdrawn from the newly-elected Peterborough MP before she has even been sworn into Parliament due to an antisemitism scandal.

Lisa Forbes was elected in a narrow win in the Peterborough by-election on Thursday, beating the Brexit Party candidate Mike Greene into second place by just 683 votes. However, a series of antisemitic posts from the newly elected Member of Parliament has led the JLM to call for her suspension.

Forbes reportedly ‘liked’ a Facebook post which said that Prime Minister Theresa May was pursuing a “zionist slave-masters agenda”. She also commented approval on a post that claimed that Mossad were responsible for creating Islamist terrorist groups such as ISIS.

The newly minted MP has also declined to accept the definition of antisemitism as put forward by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, something which other parties including the Conservatives have adopted as policy.

The JLM issued a statement saying Forbes was a “perfect example” of a Labour member who “shared racist material and rejected the IHRA definition of antisemitism not only to be a member but [to] advance political [sic] and seek public office”.

“Ms Forbes should have the whip suspended immediately,” the statement continued, adding: “This show [sic] how urgent and necessary the EHRC’s investigation into Labour’s institutional racism is. The party is simply incapable of rooting out hate by itself.”

Forbes issued an apology when the comments came to light, saying she found racism “abhorrent”; however, the JLM did not accept the apology and said: “Ms Forbes will have to go far, far further than her statements at the weekend to demonstrate to our members and the Jewish community that she isn’t racist against Jews.”

The Jewish Chronicle reports that two senior Labour MPs, Dame Margaret Hodge, who last year accused party leader Jeremy Corbyn of being an antisemite, and Dame Louise Ellman, vice-chairman of the Labour Friends of Israel, have formally complained to the Labour Party about Ms Forbes.

Forbes’s comments are the latest in a long line of antisemitic allegations and incidents within the Labour Party. In one instance, Mr Corbyn was discovered to have expressed the antisemitic trope that Jews or Israel control the media, when he wrote an article in 2009 in which he complained about “unbelievably high” levels of Israeli influence over British media.

Meanwhile, another Labour branch member was reported to have dismissed the party’s antisemitism scandal, complaining that there was too much talk of “antisemitism this, antisemitism that”.

In May the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched an investigation into Labour to find out whether the party had “unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised people because they are Jewish”. This makes Labour the only party aside from the British National Party (BNP) to be investigated by the EHRC for racism.

A poll in April found that more than half of Britons (51 per cent) think Labour has a serious antisemitism problem.

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