Lewisham East Labour party chairman suspended over Emily Thornberry Isis tweets

Posted On: 
22nd May 2018

The chairman of the Lewisham East constituency Labour party has been suspended over past comments he made on Twitter about Emily Thornberry.

Ian McKenzie has long been a hate figure for the local left
PA Images

Ian McKenzie has also been forced to stand down from his new job as an aide to Rokhsana Fiaz, the newly-elected Labour mayor of Newham.

The row comes after Mr McKenzie, a former aide to Tony Blair, masterminded a successful campaign in Lewisham East to win Janet Daby the Labour nomination for the forthcoming by-election in the seat.

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She managed to defeat Sakina Sheikh, who had the support of Momentum, and the Unite-backed Claudia Webbe, to win the coveted candidacy. 

In the wake of the result, supporters of Jeremy Corbyn shared a number of tweets Mr McKenzie made in the past.

In one, from 2016, he said: “Emily Thornberry is too old for Isis. They won't make a sex slave of her. They'll behead her and dump her in a mass grave.”

And in another he said: “Maybe she'd agree sex slavery to one man only, provided he didn't sell her on or insist on gang rape.”

It is understood the tweets were posted in the wake of comments Ms Thornberry had made about being prepared to negotiate with Isis.

Mandu Reid, the Lewisham Easy by-election candidate for the Women's Equality Party, branded the tweets "abhorrent".

"They are clearly sexist and require an immediate apology," she fumed. "If he is kept on it will signal, very clearly, just how invincible the Labour Party feels in Lewisham."

PoliticsHome understands Mr McKenzie was suspended last night pending an investigation by the party. However Mr McKenzie has yet to be told of his suspension. 

Rokhsana Fiaz also confirmed that he had stood down as her political assistant.

In a statement the newly elected mayor said: "I have accepted his decision as being the right one at the moment."

Mr McKenzie has long been a hate figure for left-wing activists in Lewisham after organising to keep pro-Corbyn group Momentum out of the constituency party structures. 

A Labour spokesperson said: “The Labour Party takes all complaints of abuse and discrimination extremely seriously.

“Any complaints are fully investigated and any appropriate disciplinary action taken in line with our rules and procedures”