A former MP suspended for five months over comments apparently made online about the community has been named deputy leader of a local party group.
Jim Sheridan, who saw his suspension lifted earlier this year, has been elected deputy leader of Renfrewshire Labour, according to The Gazette.
“I was cleared so what people’s opinions are is entirely up to them. I can’t influence them, nor do I want to influence their opinions,” Sheridan said, referencing antisemitism claims, according to the Glasgow regional.
The party received a complaint last year over a controversial post sent from his personal Facebook account, stating his loss of “respect and empathy” for the community over the antisemitism row.
A party spokesperson said at the time that it could not comment on individual cases but that it fully investigates all complaints of antisemitism in the party.
In a statement, independent MP Ian Austin criticised the Labour Party for reinstating and promoting Sheridan.
“He should not even be in the Labour Party after his appalling comments, let alone be promoted,” Austin said. “It just shows once again the extent to which the party has been poisoned under Corbyn’s leadership. The only question is how long decent MPs and members will put up with it.”
Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl criticised the appointment in a statement, describing Sheridan as “an unrepentant antagonist of the Jewish community”.
She added: “He was reinstated from his suspension in January showing no remorse, and now has been promoted to a senior local authority post.
“Labour increasingly gives out the message that anti-Jewish racism, far from being a problem, is a route to career advancement.
“It is this culture which is rightly under the spotlight in the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s inquiry in to Labour’s antisemitism, which makes it the second party after the British National Party to face such a probe.”