Shadow minister in online hate group says anti-Semitism has ‘absolutely no place’

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Shadow minister in online hate group says anti-Semitism has ‘absolutely no place’

Andrew Gwynne says Jew-hatred needs to be eradicated from Labour, after being named in a Facebook forum with anti-Semitic content

Andrew Gwynne
Andrew Gwynne

A shadow cabinet minister has insisted that anti-Semitism has “absolutely no place” in the Labour Party or wider society after being named a member of a Facebook group where offensive content was posted.

Andrew Gwynne, the shadow communities secretary, said he was added to the group on the social network without his knowledge or permission.

The MP’s condemnation of anti-Semitism came as protesters planned to descend on Labour’s London headquarters to call on Jeremy Corbyn’s party to deliver on its promise to tackle the problem.

The Sunday Telegraph reported that Mr Gwynne was listed as a member of the Labour Supporters page on Facebook.

Posts on the site last week include one on Friday which said “Jews will pay 7 times more for their sins – Islam will unite the religious world”.

Another post, from April 4, showed a gunman squatting in a star of David symbol, with the words “Palestinian Holocaust” written in the colours of the Palestine flag, the newspaper reported.

Denton and Reddish MP Mr Gwynne said: “I was added to this Facebook group without my knowledge or permission.

“I do not support the posts and I abhor anti-Semitism. It has absolutely no place in the Labour Party or in society. End of.”

Protesters calling on Labour to deliver on its “broken promise” of zero tolerance for anti-Semitism will descend on the party’s headquarters this weekend.

The demonstration, led by the Campaign Against Antisemitism, will gather outside the Labour Party Head Office in central London on Sunday afternoon.

It follows a complaint from the campaign group to Labour which accuses Mr Corbyn of bringing the party into disrepute.

Mr Corbyn has acknowledged that the party had been “too slow” in dealing with cases of anti-Semitism and apologised for the “hurt” it had caused. He also said he would “never be anything other than a militant opponent of anti-Semitism”.

Gideon Falter, chairman of Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “Labour must lead by example and show that Jeremy Corbyn is bound by the same rules as Leader as he was as a backbencher, by investigating the disciplinary complaint we have filed against him for bringing the party into disrepute.”

Mr Falter criticised the response from Labour’s general secretary Jennie Formby, and said: “We will demonstrate on Sunday outside Labour Head Office, demanding that Labour fulfils its duty to hold Mr Corbyn to account, and we will of course appeal.”

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