Labour frontbencher apologises after sharing 'anti-semitic caricature' on Facebook
Labour frontbencher Mike Amesbury has apologised for sharing an "appalling" anti-semitic image on Facebook.
The Shadow Employment Minister said he was "mortified" to realise that he had posted the offensive image from conspiracy website IlluminatiAgenda.com in 2013.
The picture showed a hook-nosed and bearded Santa Claus rubbing his hands together next to the caption: "Remember to support the banks and corporations this Christmas in their continued efforts to enslave mankind, by spending money you haven’t got on things you don’t need."
Mr Amesbury initially denied sharing the image, which was posted before he became an MP, saying he had not posted the "vile nonsense and never would".
He had added: "The profile picture is of me and my son when we as a family went to Barcelona in 2015, curious that this claims to be from 2013."
But the frontbencher has now issued a statement apologising "unreservedly for this terrible error" after social media users pointed out that the post could still be seen on his Facebook wall.
"I genuinely don’t recall sharing this image and I’m mortified that I did so," Mr Amesbury said.
"This appalling image image contains an antisemitic caricature and a reference to the ‘illuminati’ conspiracy theory.
"I would never have intentionally shared antisemitic tropes and I am sincerely sorry that I did."
In his statement, Mr Amesbury said he had visited Auschwitz last year with the Holocaust Educational Trust in a bid to improve his understanding of anti-Jewish racism.
"This moving experience reaffirmed my commitment to working with the Jewish community to increase education and awareness about antisemitism," he said.
The apology came as Labour tries to repair its battered relationship with Jewish groups following a major row over its handling of anti-semitism in its own ranks.