Claim that 'antisemitism is still deep in Labour Party' as Labour MP has whip suspended over Holocaust Memorial Day post

Monday 29 January 2024

An MP has had the Labour whip suspended after she appeared to say the war in Gaza should be remembered as a genocide in a post about Holocaust Memorial Day.

Kate Osamor has issued an apology for “any offence caused” by the message on the eve of the day marking the murder of six million Jews during the Second World War.

A Labour source confirmed that the chief whip has suspended her from the parliamentary party while an investigation takes place.

The Edmonton MP had appeared to suggest the conflict in Gaza was a genocide in a message she shared online the day before Holocaust Memorial Day.

She later tweeted: “Holocaust Memorial Day is a day to remember the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust and the genocides that have occurred since. I apologise for any offence caused by my reference to the ongoing humanitarian disaster in Gaza as part of that period of remembrance.”

The former shadow development secretary, who served in Jeremy Corbyn’s top team, is the second Labour MP to apologise for remarks about the war in Gaza this week.

TalkTV's Alex Phillips said: "The worst thing is she did this wilfully, this wasn't a slip of the tongue.

"So she's basically said 'I'm going to use the opportunity of remembering the biggest genocide that's happened in history against one set of people to then slag them off essentially for defending their country'."

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TalkTV's Kevin O'Sullivan added: "Its offensive. This is antisemitism at work still deep in the ranks of the Labour Party. They've got a big problem, and they continue to have one."

Tahir Ali accused Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of having “the blood of thousands of innocent people on his hands” over his response to the conflict.

The comments in the House of Commons prompted the Labour leadership to quickly distance itself from his position and Mr Ali later posted an apology on X, formerly Twitter.

“Earlier at PMQs I asked the Prime Minister about the actions of Israel in Gaza. This is obviously a deeply emotive issue,” he said.

“While I do not resile from my strongly held views on the situation in the Middle East, I would like to apologise for the way in which I described the Prime Minister in my question.”

A Labour spokesman said of his remarks: “That language is clearly inappropriate and not language we would support or endorse or believe should be used.”