It has been reported that in response to several candidates allegedly harbouring and sharing antisemitic videos and opinions, including that Sir Keir Starmer is under “Zionist control”, the Peterborough Constituency Labour Party (CLP) has moved to suspend fourteen individuals, at least seven of whom were local councillors.
A spokesperson for the Labour Party said that the decision reflected the Party’s “determination to root out all forms of antisemitism from our party and it is testament to our commitment to zero tolerance that we will not be influenced by an election timetable.”
It was reported that some of the names of those suspended from Peterborough CLP were Councillor Ansar Ali, Richard Stargward, Cllr Angus Ellis, Colin and Linda Watson, Cllr Samantha Hemraj, Kit Hubback, and Cllr Mahboob Hemraj.
Other suspended individuals reportedly included Cllr Shabina Qayyum, Cllr Aasiayah Joseph and Cllr Mohammed Jamil, also from Peterborough CLP.
In addition, it is understood that Janet Armstrong and Jonathan Orchard were suspended from North Cambridgeshire CLP.
The Conservative Party in Peterborough has faced similar pressure to reprimand members who have also been accused of antisemitism. Cllr Muhammed Ikram was alleged to have shared an antisemitic article that propagated the idea that Israel was enacting a “Final Solution” in Gaza, adding: “Can you really support Zionism after this?”
Meanwhile, Cllr Mohammed Nadeem was said to have shared videos from a hate preacher who is banned from entering the UK.
Ishfaq Hussain, a Conservative candidate running in Dogsthorpe, is understood to have been suspended. He recently apologised for sharing antisemitic tropes on Facebook. In one Facebook post, he accused the “Saudi regime” of being “long standing puppets of America and Israel,” and went on to label them “a trilogy of zionists.” He then remarked that “Islam doesn’t breed terrorists the zionist trilogy do.” Mr Hussain also shared a video that was captioned: “The Jews in Israel are not true Jews.”
In his apology, Mr Hussain said: “I recognise Israel’s right to exist and wholeheartedly support a two-state solution. I deeply regret that my frustration at events in Israel and Palestine led me to suggest otherwise. Some of my previous language was ill-judged and offensive. It also echoed antisemitic tropes in ways I had not fully understood. However strongly we feel, we should never let our emotions get the better of us. By doing so, I allowed myself to become part of the problem. I am truly sorry.”
A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “It is encouraging to see both the Labour and Conservative Parties taking action against local councillors and members in Peterborough accused of antisemitism. In this instance, Labour has been particularly proactive in issuing suspensions in spite of looming local elections, although any investigations must be delayed until the Party introduces an independent disciplinary system later this year. Conservative action in this instance leaves considerable room for improvement. Slaps on the wrist are no substitute for zero tolerance of antisemitism.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism advocates for zero tolerance of antisemitism in public life. To that end we monitor all political parties and strive to ensure that any cases of concern are properly addressed.