25th Nov, 2020

Stratford district councillor cleared after anti-semitism complaints

A STRATFORD district councillor involved in an anti-semitism Twitter row has been cleared by the Conservative Party.

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

The Harbury ward councillor 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.

She was suspended by the Conservative Party and the councillor then resigned from the district council’s Tory-run cabinet.

She continued to serve her ward as an independent.

Following a lengthy investigation complaints against Coun Harris have finally been rejected and the suspension lifted.

She responded: “I have to say that I am saddened that is has taken so long, it has been quite a drawn out process, but common sense prevailed in the end, due to my own determination, tenacity and patience to clear my name.

“The issue came about by sheer ignorance and hate and it was clear manipulation by those who hate the Conservative Party. We live in very vitriolic sad times when people behave like this.”

The councillor has long maintained the problem lies with freedom of speech.

She added: “Some say it could be seen as being naive speaking about such topics in a public forum. I say we should be able to debate and speak about these issues anywhere, in any forum or format for that matter and the powers that be, not be so easily be duped or have a knee jerk reaction to such events.

“I am a great believer in freedom of speech and I believe that freedom of speech in this country is being eroded, which in turn means debate and discussion is curtailed and limited, especially at a time when we should be grasping and dealing with bigger issues.

“I would like to say again thank you to all those people who believed in me, who stood by me with the trust and confidence to vote me in again as a district councillor.”

Coun Harris said she would consider rejoining the Conservative Party after Christmas.

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