A Scottish Labour candidate has apologised for sharing a “clearly antisemitic and unacceptable” message accusing the BBC journalist Nick Robinson of political bias due to his Jewish heritage.
Jean Anne Mitchell, who is standing in West Dunbartonshire, shared a message to a WhatsApp group in the wake of the BBC leadership debate between Jeremy Corbyn and Boris Johnson chaired by the senior broadcaster last week.
The message reportedly read: “We watched the BBC Leadership Debate chaired by Nick Robinson. Throughout the debate we felt that Robinson gave Johnson an easy time, allowing him to avoid answering the audience’s questions and instead giving him free reign to attack Corbyn. We thought he was biased. And then we Googled him,” according to Scottish tabloid Daily Record.
“His mother was born in Shanghai, where her German-Jewish parents fled during the 1930s,” the message apparently said. “That makes him Jewish”.
But Mitchell issued an apology on Monday afternoon, claiming she had not read the entire message before forwarding it and that she has since contacted its author to express her concerns, adding that she “wants nothing further to do with them.”
“I want to apologise unreservedly for forwarding a message, which I hadn’t read fully. I only glanced at the opening part about media bias, and did not see the antisemitic rhetoric beneath that,” read a statement from the candidate.
“Claiming that someone’s Jewish heritage means they have some kind of agenda is clearly antisemitic and unacceptable. When I read the full content, I was mortified. These were neither my words nor my views and I deeply regret this genuine mistaken,” it continued.
Robinson revealed at a dinner hosted by the Holocaust Educational Trust in October that his grandfather had been a Jewish doctor.
Scottish Labour was approached for comment.