Sat, 20 July 2024

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By Ben Guerin
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Exclusive: A Lib Dem Prospective Mayoral Candidate Was Filmed Urging Voters Not To Vote For A Jewish Candidate During A Failed Election Bid

3 min read

The Lib Dems have shortlisted a candidate who was seen launching an antisemitic campaign against her election rival during an unsuccessful effort to become an MP.

PoliticsHome has seen footage of Geeta Sidhu-Robb using a megaphone to urge Muslim voters not to vote for her Labour opponent, Jack Straw, because he is Jewish.

The Lib Dems announced on Tuesday that Ms Sidhu-Robb, a former corporate lawyer turned health food entrepreneur, would go head-to-head with councillor Luisa Porrit for the party's nomination for London mayor, with the winner due to be announced on 13 October.

But in footage from the 1997 election campaign, Ms Sidhu-Robb, who was at the time standing as the Conservative candidate for Blackburn, was filmed saying she planned to inform voters about Mr Straw's faith, adding "how is a Muslim going to vote for someone who is Jewish?”

Ms Sidhu-Robb said she was going to "take the gloves" off after she claimed Labour activists had accused her of being "against Islam".

"The Labour Party is going around with a microphone, saying she is against Islam, she is not Muslim, don't vote for her because she's against Islam, and this is making it racist, it's making it personal," she said. 

"Particularly considering the fact that my husband actually is Muslim.

"So, we are just going to pull the gloves off. I am going to get a car and walk around, and drive through town telling everyone Jack Straw is a Jew. How is a Muslim going to vote for someone who is Jewish?

"That's it. That is what happened and that's what we're going to do about it."

In further scenes, she was filmed driving around part of the constituency with a megaphone, saying [in Urdu] that if people chose to vote for Mr Straw they were "voting for a Jew". The footage included subtitles translating her words into English.

"Don't vote for a Jew, Jack Straw is a Jew," she allegedly said. "If you vote for him, you're voting for a Jew. Jews are the enemies of Muslims.

"Mark the 7th box on the ballot paper."

Later in the footage, she claimed she had carried out the campaign because she was "furious" but admitted she wished she hadn't done it.

"I didn't want racism and bigotry to play a part in anything that I had anything to do with," she said. "I object strenuously to it. 

"I did it because I was furious. 

"So, I must admit I wish I hadn't done it."

Ms Sidhu-Robb finished second behind Mr Straw in the 1997 election, later going on to become involved in the People's Vote campaign.

Yesterday, PoliticsHome revealed there was unease among Lib Dem activists about the fact she had been shortlisted, after comments she had made on a Channel 5 documentary came to light.

A Liberal Democrat spokesperson said: "The Liberal Democrats take all allegations of this nature extremely seriously. A complaint has been received by the party and will be actioned in accordance with our processes."

Ms Sidhu-Robb has been contacted for comment.

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