UK Politics

Labour MPs criticise party in row over reinstated activist

Jeremy Corbyn
Image caption MPs have urged Labour's NEC, of which Jeremy Corbyn is a member, to take action

Labour MPs have criticised a decision to reinstate an activist suspended in 2014 for making anti-Semitic comments.

Vicki Kirby was forced to stand down as an election candidate after tweeting that Jews had "big noses" and suggesting Hitler was a "Zionist God".

Labour said her suspension had been lifted after she had been warned about her future conduct.

MPs took to social media to say they were "appalled and shocked" by the ruling and the statement it sent out.

It comes in the wake of the recent expulsion of a far-left activist, Gerry Downing, following criticism of his views about 9/11 and so-called Islamic State.

Ms Kirby was selected to represent Labour in the Surrey constituency of Woking at the last general election but was suspended for a series of comments she made on social media in August 2014.

'Unacceptable'

In one of those, she tweeted: "Point about Jews is that they occupy Palestine. Used to live together, now slaughter the oppressed."

Ten days later, she wrote: "Apparently you can ask IS/ISIS/ISIL questions on ask.fm. Anyone thought of asking them why they are not attacking the real oppressors Israel."

Image copyright Image from Guido Fawkes
Image caption A screen shot of historical tweets posted by Labour activist Vicky Kirby, as reported by the Guido Fawkes website

It emerged on Monday that Ms Kirby - whose Twitter account has been protected - is now vice-chair of the Labour constituency party in Woking, a development first reported by the Guido Fawkes website. It prompted an angry response from a number of Labour MPs on Twitter.

Ian Austin said it was "completely unacceptable". He tweeted: "How was someone with these views allowed back in to the Labour Party? Would be shocking if she's not booted back out."

And Wes Streeting said he "despaired" at the decision. He tweeted: "This can't be right because Jeremy Corbyn has said there is "no place" for anti-Semitism in our society."

In response, a Labour spokesperson said: "Vicky Kirby was suspended from the Labour Party following comments on social media in 2014. Following her resignation as a parliamentary candidate she received a warning from the NEC on her future conduct and the suspension was then lifted.

"If new evidence comes to light, the Labour Party will review that evidence and make sure the rules of the Party are upheld."

Labour is currently carrying out an investigation into allegations of anti-Semitism in the Oxford University Labour Club and the BBC understands that the inquiry has been widened to consider a complaint at a second university.

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