Jess Phillips criticises online activist over ‘antisemitic’ tweet
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Jess Phillips criticises online activist over ‘antisemitic’ tweet

Rachael Cousins, who has 76,300 Twitter followers, was reportedly given a tour of Parliament last year by shadow chancellor John McDonnell

Jess Phillips. Photo credit: PA/PA Wire
Jess Phillips. Photo credit: PA/PA Wire

Labour leadership contender Jess Phillips has accused an activist running a popular Twitter account of “antisemitism” in a tweet made about the Board of Deputies.

Phillips, who is vying to replace Jeremy Corbyn, called for the immediate suspension of Rachael Cousins from the party. But Jewish News understands Cousins is not a Labour member.

“This is antisemitism, holding Jews collectively responsible for the actions of Israel. It has no place in Labour. Rachael Cousins should be suspended immediately,” the Birmingham Yardley MP wrote on Tuesday.

Cousins, whose account @Rachael_Swindon has 76,300 followers, was given a tour of Parliament last year by shadow chancellor John McDonnell, according to a report in BuzzFeed News. 

The activist faces criticism for apparently accusing the Board of Deputies of backing the Conservative Party and suggesting the body was plotting to “interfere” in the Labour leadership contest.

According to screenshots circulated on social media, a tweet, which appears to have been deleted, read: “Dear Conservative-backing @BoardofDeputies Before interfering in our election process we require you to sign up to these 10 points and unequivocally endorse them in full.”

The tweet is said to have included a list of 10 demands urging the Board of Deputies to “dissociate itself from the Conservative Party”, “condemn all atrocities by the Israeli millitary in the West Bank” and lobby to prevent “Israeli interference in UK politics.”

The Board of Deputies published a list of 10 pledges to stamp out antisemitism in the Labour Party on Sunday, signed by leadership hopefuls Rebecca Long-Bailey and Sir Keir Starmer.

Phillips told LBC radio on Monday she was  “quite tempted” to quit her party over its handling of allegations of antisemitism and said she “wobbled the most” after watching a BBC Panorama investigation on the subject.

Rachael Cousins and the Labour Party have been approached for comment.

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