MP for Finchley and Golders Green, Mike Freer, has called for the suspension of a Labour candidate in this week’s London Assembly elections after he retweeted a message suggesting you can get away with offending anyone “so long as they’re not Jewish”.
Labour’s Murad Qureshi, who has served 12 years on the Assembly, apologised after he retweeted the post from anti-Israel campaigner Mira Bar-Hillel, during the height of the scandal surrounding Naz Shah and Ken Livingstone.
The message claimed that the commentator Katie Hopkins “is proof positive you can get away with deeply offending anyone in this country as long as they’re not Jewish”. Qureshi also ‘liked’ the post but deleted it.
He is number four on Labour’s list for Thursday’s poll and therefore has a strong chance of being elected.
Mike Freer MP said: “It is disgraceful, although sadly unsurprising, that just a day after the Labour Party quite rightly acted to suspend Ken Livingstone from their party for repeated anti-Semitic statements, one of Labour’s London Assembly candidates should endorse such disgraceful views”.
He emphasised: “Londoners will have the chance to reject Murad’s divisive and unacceptable comments next Thursday at the polls, but the Labour Party should act now and suspend his candidacy. Only by doing so will they prove that they are serious about rooting out and stamping out anti-Semitism”.
MP for Hertsmere, Oliver Dowden, said: “This is further evidence of Labour’s failure to get to grips with its anti-Semitism problem. These aren’t historic remarks made by someone who has only just joined the Labour party – they are views that have been expressed by a serving Labour London Assembly Member just days before important elections. Sadiq Khan is standing on the same Labour ticket as this man in London – he should condemn these views immediately and unequivocally”.
Following calls to be suspended, Qureshi said: “I apologise for any offence caused by this retweet. The views it contained were wrong and do not reflect my own and I quickly deleted the retweet as I recognised it was inappropriate”.
According to reports, up to 50 members of the Labour Party have so far been suspended in the wake of the anti-Semitism crisis.