Labour MP John Mann: Jackie Walker 'must be expelled' for Holocaust comments

Posted On: 
30th September 2016

A Labour MP has said Momentum vice-chair Jackie Walker should be immediately expelled from the party over her remarks on the Holocaust. 

Jackie Walker at a Momentum event at last week's Labour conference
Credit: 
Matt Crossick/ EMPICS Entertainment

At a fringe event at the Labour party conference earlier this week, Ms Walker said it would be “wonderful” if Holocaust Memorial Day did not solely focus on Jews.

It emerged last night that members of Momentum's steering committee are seeking to remove her from her post as vice-chair of the pro-Jeremy Corbyn campaign group.

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John Mann, the chair of the all-party parliamentary group on anti-Semitism, described Ms Walker's comments as “discriminatory, provocative, offensive and by any standard unacceptable”.

A Labour spokesperson said any evidence of anti-Semitism would be investigated.

Ms Walker - a long-time ally of Mr Corbyn - had previously been at the centre of controversy for claiming that Jews were "the chief financiers of the slave trade". She was suspended by Labour but later re-instated.

At this week's fringe event, she said she had not yet come across a definition of anti-Semitism that she could “work with”.

Ms Walker said: "In terms of Holocaust day wouldn't it be wonderful if Holocaust day was open to all people who experienced holocaust...

“In practice it's not actually circulated and advertised as such.”

Mr Mann said “enough is enough” and argued it was time for Labour to cut ties with her.

“Though she claims impunity for many reasons, Jackie Walker’s behaviour is discriminatory, provocative, offensive and by any standard unacceptable in a modern political party,” the Bassetlaw MP said in a statement.

“Not only has she caused offence personally, she has inspired waves of anti-Semitic and racist backlash including Holocaust denial.

“Not only must she be expelled from the Labour party immediately but all those abusing others in supporting her must go too.

“Temporary suspensions are not good enough, these people must be given permanent bans and no platform to express their antisemitism anywhere in the Labour party, if we are to be serious about opposing anti-Jewish hatred.”

Last night Manuel Cortes, the boss of the TSSA union and a staunch supporter of Mr Corbyn, also called for her removal from Momentum and the Labour party.

A Labour spokesperson said: "We don't comment on individuals' membership status.

“The Labour party treats all allegations of anti-Semitism, racism, intimidation or abuse very seriously. Any evidence of such behaviour will be looked at and action will be taken when appropriate.”

Ms Walker - who issued a statement two days ago apologising for any offence she had caused - last night went on Channel Four News to defend herself.

She said: "As far as I am aware, the Holocaust Memorial Day is celebrating genocides that happen after the Nazis. Bosnia, Cambodia, they were all after the Nazis. Of course the Jewish Holocaust was an awful and extraordinary event and Jewish people should have a day to celebrate that.

"But as a mixed-race person who is African and Jewish, I was making the point that why is the Cambodian genocide, which was after the 1940s, included and the African holocaust is not?"

Ms Walker was at the centre of fresh controversy when she appeared alongside Mr Corbyn at a leadership rally last month