In September 2017, Campaign Against Antisemitism put this matter to Ms Hobhouse. She related that members of her mother’s family had fled the Holocaust, and that a mentally ill great uncle was murdered by Nazi Germany. She also provided a statement saying: “I abhor antisemitism with every fibre of my being…However, I apologise unreservedly for any offence I have caused. Looking back at these tweets I realise that trying to discuss hugely serious issues via 140 characters is a mistake.”
As of 25th November 2019, Campaign Against Antisemitism is not aware of any formal steps taken by the Liberal Democrats to initiate any kind of investigation or disciplinary process as a result of Ms Hobhouse’s comments.
In November 2019 we put this matter to Ms Hobhouse, who told us: “I repeat my apology which I published in 2017 soon after my election about the tweet from 2014. Since then I went on training organised by the Liberal Democrats in partnership with the Holocaust Educational Trust to learn why the tweet had caused offence. I now understand fully that any comparison to the atrocities of the Holocaust are wrong and must not be used. Please accept that I used the wrong language in 2014 from ignorance.”
We put this matter to the Liberal Democrats, and were told by the President’s office that at the time of the comments, Ms Hobhouse was interviewed by the Party’s Chief Whip, who afterwards said: “She understood and accepted the need to be very careful in her use of language as an MP”. Furthermore, we were informed that she attended the Party’s training course on antisemitism, delivered by Jewish charities, and we were told: “She is very mindful that her family came to the UK originally in order to escape the Nazis. This training will be repeated for new parliamentarians.”