Luciana Berger has criticised Labour for restoring an ex-MP on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day, who was suspended over comments about antisemitism, as being “hurtful.”
The Jewish Labour politician took to Twitter to call out the party’s decision to lift Jim Sheridan’s suspension, after he apologised for hurt caused by remarks made in August last year, while claiming his accusers were “misguided.”
She said: “A real apology doesn’t come with qualification; it wouldn’t be acceptable if it had been directed at any other minority community. And on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day there couldn’t be a more insensitive time for this suspension lift. It’s so hurtful.”
Jim Sheridan, a former Paisley and Renfrewshire North MP who is now a councillor in Renfrewshire, said he was “delighted” with the decision. It follows an investigation by Labour after a complaint in August last year, reported to relate to a social media post in which he spoke about his loss of “respect and empathy” for the community amid the antisemitism row.
A real apology doesn’t come with qualification; it wouldn’t be acceptable if it had been directed at any other minority community.
And on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day there couldn’t be a more insensitive time for this suspension lift. It’s so hurtful. https://t.co/zLc6Cemjll
— Luciana Berger (@lucianaberger) January 26, 2019
A Labour Party spokesman said it ” takes all complaints of antisemitism extremely seriously and we are committed to challenging and campaigning against it in all its forms. All complaints about antisemitism are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken.”
Luciana Berger called Labour’s response “risible”, adding that “no disciplinary action has been taken.”
In a statement issued on Friday, Sheridan reiterated his apology while calling his accusers “misguided”.
He said: “I was notified that my suspension from the Labour Party has been lifted with no further action to be taken by the party. Whilst I am delighted with this decision, I remain of the view that my accusers were misguided and overreacted to what was intended to highlight my personal frustration and criticism of those intent on undermining our leadership in Scotland and the UK.
“I would also like to reiterate my sincere apologies to the Jewish community whose historic struggle I have supported all my political life.”
Mr Sheridan said he had been “humbled” by the level of support he received.
It is understood Mr Sheridan will be issued with a reminder of party conduct.
Paul Masterton, Scottish Conservative MP for East Renfrewshire, said: “This is an appalling decision that sends the wrong message entirely to the Jewish community.
“Sneaked out apologetically, on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day, it takes on extra meaning.
“Richard Leonard should be utterly ashamed for having allowed to happen on his watch.”