Monday, May 02, 2016

Has UK Labour "done something it doesn't agree with"?

From The Telegraph (UK), 28 April 2016, by Michael Deacon:

“Solution for Israel-Palestine conflict. Relocate Israel into the United States... The transportation costs will be less than 3 years of defence spending” A Facebook post shared by Labour MP Naz Shah in 2014
Naz Shah, the Labour MP for Bradford West, apologises in the Commons for remarks she made in 2014 about Israel and Jews 
Naz Shah, the Labour MP for Bradford West, apologises in the Commons for remarks she made in 2014 about Israel and Jews Credit: PA
Beat this for a piece of spin. Today the Labour party was in trouble over remarks one of its MPs, Naz Shah, made online in 2014 about Israel and Jews.

Journalists asked a spokesman for Jeremy Corbyn whether Mrs Shah was anti-Semitic.

We’re not suggesting she’s anti-Semitic,” said the spokesman. “We’re saying she’s made remarks that she doesn’t agree with.”

...Poor Mrs Shah. A hostage to her own [statements that she doesn’t agree with].

Still, she had to act, and swiftly, to prove that she utterly rejected the comments misattributed to her by her[self]. There was only one thing for it. Keep schtum for two years, and apologise only once her views had been exposed in the media.

At Prime Minister’s Questions, David Cameron demanded to know why Jeremy Corbyn had done nothing to discipline Mrs Shah. Shouldn’t he be listening to his shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, who in March had said that if anyone in Labour expressed anti-Semitic views then “full stop, they’re out”?

Standing behind the Speaker’s chair, Mr McDonnell was out of most MPs’ sight. But I unmistakably saw him nod.

After PMQs, pressure continued to mount. Journalists asked Mr Corbyn’s spokesman to confirm that the Labour leader had the authority to dismiss Mrs Shah as a party whip. “Of course, he’s the leader,” said the spokesman. “Having met with her, he’s chosen not to.”

News of this decision did not meet with universal acclaim. Desperately, Mrs Shah had a go at apologising to MPs in the Commons. “I fully acknowledge I have made mistakes,” she said, “and I wholeheartedly apologise for the words I used… I truly regret what I did…”
It wasn’t enough. An hour later, Labour announced that she was suspended from the party.  “Jeremy Corbyn and Naz Shah,” said a statement, “have mutually agreed that she is administratively suspended from the Labour Party by the general secretary.”

Look at the wording of that. The party leader, who decided that Mrs Shah should face no consequences, agrees that she’s subsequently been suspended by someone else.

I wonder how Labour members feel now, when they look back at last September’s leadership election. Are any of them beginning to worry that they did something they don’t agree with?

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