A councillor briefly suspended after making a joke about “Jew process” sparked anger by putting her name forward to succeed Dame Louise Ellman.
Jo Bird, who is Jewish, was suspended in March and reinstated 9 days later after she joked about “Jew process” and adapted Martin Niemoller’s Holocaust poem “First they came” to refer to “anti-Zionists.”
A longlist of potential parliamentary candidates must be drawn up and presented to a shortlisting panel before Liverpool Riverside constituency Labour Party (CLP) members can cast their votes.
Reacting to the news, Jewish MP Ruth Smeeth said it would be “offensive to both Louise and Luciana if someone were to be selected who had referred to ‘jew process’ in reference to antisemitism in the Labour party.”
The Jewish Chronicle reported yesterday that Bird is being “lined-up” by members as a replacement for Ellman.
But a CLP source told Jewish News that Bird enjoys support from only a “very small group” of members.
“She’s got some support. If she was [sic] to make the longlist, I wouldn’t say that necessarily she’s going to have the most support. I really don’t think she’s going to have the most support,” the source added.
In a video released last month, Bird apologised for “any offence caused” but denied allegations of “widespread” antisemitism in the party.
She said: “I was talking about this and I made a play on words. I said we need what I call ‘Jew process’, a process based entirely on fundamental human rights and when I was suspended thousands of people in the Labour Party and outside the Labour Party rose up and said it was ridiculous for me as a Jewish person to be suspended for making a self-deprecating play on words.”
The revelation comes hot on the heels of Dame Louise’s resignation from Labour last week, who cited concerns about “antisemitism” after being a member for over half a century.
Jo Bird was approached for comment.