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Tue, 29 September 2020

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By Hft

The Lib Dems Have Suspended A Prospective London Mayoral Candidate Over Previous Antisemitic Comments

The Lib Dems Have Suspended A Prospective London Mayoral Candidate Over Previous Antisemitic Comments

The party announced on Sunday that Geeta Sidhu-Robb had been suspended

3 min read

The Liberal Democrats have suspended one of their prospective London mayoral candidates after it was revealed she had made a series of antisemitic comments during the 1997 election campaign.

A party spokesperson said Ms Sidhu-Robb would not appear on the party's ballot paper to be their candidate for London Mayor after it was revealed she had used a megaphone to urge Muslim voters not to vote for her Labour opponent, Jack Straw, because they would be "voting for a Jew". 

Ms Sidhu-Robb had been shortlisted for the party's candidacy alongside Lib Dem councillor Luisa Porrit, with the contest due to run until 13 October.

But in a statement released on Sunday evening, a spokesperson for the party said: "Geeta Sidhu-Robb has been suspended from the Liberal Democrats and will not be on the ballot paper to the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London.

"There is an investigation underway in accordance with due process."

In the footage, first reported by PoliticsHome, 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."

In a series of tweets posted on Sunday evening, Ms Sidhu-Robb said her comments were "entirely inconsistent with my views and values".

"I am deeply ashamed of the ignorant and abusive language I used on one occasion in the 1997 General Election campaign. As shown in the footage, I instantly regretted my appalling behaviour, which I continue to do," she tweeted.

"Those words are entirely inconsistent with my views and values, and though there are no excuses for my actions, there is some context; that is, that I was under a great deal of strain and retaliated to the racial abuse I was receiving in Blackburn 'like for like'.

She added: "Two wrong never make a right. I made a mistake and I take responsibility for my abhorrent actions twenty three years ago, they were never repeated.

"I urge you to judge me on who I am today, a campaigner committed to eradicating inequality and discrimination in all its forms.

"And I am actively reaching out to the Jewish community to listen and learn.

"I particularly wish to acknowledge the hurt that these comments and actions would have inflicted on members of the Jewish community and of a Jewish heritage. Please know that my regret is sincere."
 

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