Anti-semitism row sees councillor suspended from Conservative party - The Leamington Observer

Anti-semitism row sees councillor suspended from Conservative party

Leamington Editorial 4th Mar, 2019 Updated: 4th Mar, 2019   0

AN ANTI-SEMITISM twitter row has seen a Stratford District councillor suspended from the Conservative party.

Coun Jacqui Harris responded to tweets alleging anti-semitism was being dramatised in a bid to remove Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn from running the party.

She replied saying the tweet was ‘spot on’ and the accusations had been ‘fanned and exploded’.

A number of responses from other users then accused her of anti-semitism.

Conservatives suspended her from the party and the councillor then resigned from the district council’s cabinet.

The Harbury ward councillor defended her position on the social media platform and said the problem was instead with freedom of speech, which meant issues were not being properly investigated.

She said: “If you look through the thread it is about the whole situation in UK, not just anti-semitism. It is the silencing of debate labelled wrongly and it is paralysing us to explore issues properly. As evidenced, if you dare have an alternative view you get bullied.

“I believe this behaviour is undermining democracy and bullying people into silence.”

The twitter row follows months of attacks on Mr Corbyn over accusations of anti-semitism in the party.

It has divided Labour MPs and defector Luciana Berger MP cited the issue as a reason for her joining the new independent group of MPs.

Many in the Labour party deny the charge and there is a party tradition of support for Palestinians and criticism of the state of Israel.

Council leader Tony Jefferson says there are no immediate plans to replace Coun Harris as cabinet member. She will continue as a councillor for Harbury, as an Independent.

Mr Jefferson said; “In view of Coun Harris’ suspension from the Conservative party, she has resigned from Stratford District Council’s cabinet.

“There are no plans to replace Ms Harris in the short-term on the cabinet. In the interim her responsibilities will be shared between other cabinet members.”

The Observer has attempted to contact Coun Harris but had not received a response at the time of going to press.


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