Shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon defended Ali Milani, the Labour candidate challenging Mr Johnson in his Uxbridge and South Ruislip constituency, for “disgraceful” tweets he wrote as a teenager.
Speaking on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday, Mr Burgon said Mr Milani has apologised for tweets about Jewish people.
Mr Burgon said: “Quite rightly he has apologised for those tweets, and those tweets that are disgraceful he did when he was a teenager.
“He has been on a programme of learning since then and, in fact, went to Auschwitz to learn more about where prejudice comes from and where prejudice against the Jewish community can lead.”
He added: “I’m sure there are plenty of things Boris Johnson did as a teenager which if you applied that rule would rule him out from being prime minister.
'Surely you can find candidates in high profile seats who haven't made offensive comments about Jewish people in the past?' – @SophyRidgeSky pushes @RichardBurgon on why Labour is supporting Ali Milani. #Ridge
— Ridge on Sunday (@RidgeOnSunday) July 21, 2019
“In fact, there is plenty of things that Boris Johnson has said and written more recently, including whilst he was an MP, including whilst he was mayor of London, including whilst he was in the running to become prime minister, which actually render him unacceptable and unsuitable to become prime minister.”
Milani’s offensive tweets date from 2012 and 2013, and include one tweet insulting former newspaper editor Piers Morgan as “a zionist” and another written in response, saying: “Nah u won’t mate. It’ll cost you a pound #jew.”
In April 2017, Milani issued an apology on social media:
Statement regarding the recent article: pic.twitter.com/N8NenQk0Mm
— Ali Milani (@ARMilani_) April 11, 2017
Mr Burgon also rejected claims there is a “lack of tolerance for different viewpoints” in Labour, saying the party is a “broad church”.
Shadow justice minister Gloria De Piero has announced she will not be standing for the Labour Party at the next election.
Asked about fears of a “lack of tolerance for different viewpoints” in Labour, Mr Burgon defended the party.
He told Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “She feels that her speech and her explanation to her members has been mischievously misrepresented by the press.”
Mr Burgon added: “I very much agree than in no political party, particularly a political party with over half a million members, do we expect everybody to agree on every single issue.”
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