Labour MPs call for suspension of Christine Shawcroft from NEC over anti-Semitism row

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Labour MPs call for suspension of Christine Shawcroft from NEC over anti-Semitism row

39 members of parliament and peers call for the Labour leader to remove the official after she resigned her role as disputes chair

Christine Shawcroft
Christine Shawcroft

A group of Labour politicians have urged Jeremy Corbyn to suspend former disputes panel chairwoman Christine Shawcroft amid an ongoing row over anti-Semitism in the party.

Some 39 MPs and peers have signed an open letter calling for Ms Shawcroft to be suspended from the National Executive Committee (NEC).

Lead signatory of the letter, MP for Mitcham and Morden Siobhain McDonagh, told the BBC the group felt “very strongly” about the issue.

Ms Shawcroft was forced to stand down from her position on the disputes panel on Wednesday, and said she was “wrong and misguided” to have sent an email calling for a council candidate in Peterborough to have his suspension lifted.

Labour sources said the controversy centred on Alan Bull, who was suspended from the party last week after he was accused of being responsible for anti-Semitic posts on social media. He has said they were “doctored screenshots”, according to reports.

Alan Bull posting Holocaust denial literature on Facebook

Ms Shawcroft said: “I sent this email before being aware of the full information about this case and I had not been shown the image of his abhorrent Facebook post. Had I seen this image, I would not have requested that the decision to suspend him be re-considered. I am deeply sorry for having done so.”

Shadow chancellor John McDonell later said it was right that Ms Shawcroft had quit the post, but said she did not need to also resign from the NEC.

Asked if she should step down from the ruling body, he told Sky News: “Well, no. Jeremy has asked her to stand down as the chair of the disputes committee.”

He added: “She’s not at the head of that committee (the NEC). It is an elected position and it is up to the electorate to decide whether or not she should be elected again.”

However, the letter, also signed by MPs including Mike Gapes and Luciana Berger, said it was “highly offensive to the Jewish community” that Ms Shawcroft remained a member of the NEC.

Mr Gapes said on Twitter: “Time for action. Not just words.”

After a wave of anti-Semitic controversies rocked Labour in recent months, Mr Corbyn pledged to do more to deal with the situation as he acknowledged the problem was not just a matter of a “few bad apples”.

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