The Liberal Democrats have expelled a former candidate hoping to run for mayor of London, over footage of an antisemitic campaign against ex Labour MP Jack Straw.
Geeta Sidhu-Robb was kicked out of the party over a clip posted on Twitter telling Muslim voters during the 1997 election campaign in Blackburn: “Don’t vote for a Jew, Jack Straw is a Jew. If you vote for him you’re voting for a Jew. Jews are the enemy of Muslims”.
Standing as a Conservative at the time, Geeta Sidhu-Robb claimed Labour was telling voters she is “against Islam, she is not Muslim.. So, we are just going to pull the gloves off. I am going to get a car and walk around, and drive through town telling everyone Jack Straw is a Jew. How is a Muslim going to vote for someone who is Jewish?”
Shortly after the footage emerged in September 2020 the party suspended her.
A Liberal Democrat spokesperson said the party “takes all allegations of this nature extremely seriously. The party suspended Geeta Sidhu-Robb within 24 hours of receiving a complaint and can confirm that, following our investigation, she was expelled late last year.”
Sidhu-Robb was vying to be the Lib Dem candidate for Mayor of London ahead of the election in May. The candidacy has since been won by Luisa Porritt.
In a statement to Jewish News, she said: “I have already publicly apologised for an act of momentary stupidity that took place 24 years ago under extreme provocation, but I am not a racist or antisemite and never have been, as anyone who knows me will attest. I find it deeply disappointing that a faction within the Liberal Democrats, who felt threatened by a fresh, engaging, female-centric approach to politics, have used this incident as a pretext to remove me from the party.
“However, I am now looking forward to focusing fully on my broader work, empowering a new generation of women to become strong, healthy, confident leaders by sharing the tools which have helped me during my career as an award-winning entrepreneur”.
After her suspension she wrote in Jewish News saying: “I hope the community find it in their hearts to accept my atonement”.
Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel president Lord Monroe Palmer said: “I applaud the quick and decisive action” taken. “Sadly antisemitism is an ongoing problem on which I will be speaking about in House of Lords this week”.
Straw, who is Christian, told Jewish News in September, “someone wrote to me out of the blue to say that they had produced a family tree for me, and in fact my Nanna came from Notts!”, so he was “not sure” about the supposed Jewish family link.
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