Labour councillor suspended by party bosses over 'Jew process' comment

Posted On: 
4th March 2019

A Labour councillor has been suspended by the party after she joked about "Jew process" in a discussion about anti-semitism.

Labour has been dogged by anti-semitism claims.
PA Images

Jo Bird told the same meeting that she was concerned about "the privileging of racism against Jews ... as more worthy of resources than other forms of racism".

A recording of the Wirral councillor's remarks, which were made at an event last year, was leaked to the Jewish Chronicle.

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Councillor Bird, who is a member of the pro-Jeremy Corbyn group Jewish Voice for Labour, called on Labour to halt disciplinary hearings into anti-semitism complaints "until a due process has been established".

To laughter from some of those in attendance she added: "It's what I call a Jew process."

She added: "One of the things that does worry me is the privileging of racism against Jews, over and above - as more worthy of resources than other forms of racism."

Following complaints about her remarks, it is understood Councillor Bird has been suspended pending a full investigation.

A Labour party spokesperson said: "The Labour party takes all complaints of anti-semitism extremely seriously and we are committed to challenging and campaigning against it in all its forms.

"All complaints about anti-semitism are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken."

Meanwhile, another row broke out on Monday evening after it emerged the daughter of one of Mr Corbyn's key advisers has been given a job with Labour's complaints team handling anti-semitism accusations.

Laura Murray worked in the Labour leader's office before being tasked with providing "administrative support" to help process the large number of complaints.

A party source said: "This is standard procedure to re-allocate resources from one part of the organisation when another part of the party comes under strain and requires additional staff support.

"Ensuring complaints on anti-semitism are processed quickly is an absolute priority for the party which is why these additional resources have been reallocated."

It is understood Ms Murray - whose father, Andrew, is deputy general secretary of Unite and also works part-time in Mr Corbyn's office - will have no role in deciding the outcome of investigations.

Labour MP Louise Ellman said: "What are her credentials? It puts a question mark over whether the people running this organisation understand the concerns expressed and whether this is an independent process."

Meanwhile, MPs criticised Labour general secretary Jennie Formby's handling of the anti-semitism controversy when she appeared before them at the weekly meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party.