SNP MP meets with expelled Labour Party member
An MP for the Scottish National Party (SNP) is facing criticism for meeting with an activist previously embroiled in antisemitism allegations who was reportedly expelled by the Labour Party.
Tommy Sheppard, who represents Edinburgh East, is reported to have met with Pete Gregson, who was expelled from the pro-Corbyn pressure group Momentum and from the GMB trade union and suspended from the Labour Party after suggesting that the Holocaust was exaggerated and for abusive behaviour towards a female Jewish Labour member.
Mr Sheppard apparently organised the meeting in order to dampen efforts to make the Scottish capital a twin city with Gaza.
This follows Mr Sheppard’s appearance at the controversial Gig for Gaza, an anti-Israel rally held in Edinburgh in June, which was organised by Mr Gregson.
During the event, Mr Sheppard made a speech calling for pressure on the British Government to “make sure that Israel does answer for its actions.” He also appeared alongside signs that claimed that “Zionism is Racism” and described the Labour Party’s Jewish affiliate and Friends of Israel faction as a “cancer”. The signs appear to be associated with the organisations Labour Against Zionism and Islamophobic Racism (LAZIR) and Campaign Against Bogus Antisemitism, both of which were founded by Mr Gregson.
In 2017, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards opened an investigation into an event hosted by Mr Sheppard, in which it is alleged that Jewish people were deliberately excluded.
In 2019, Mr Gregson was suspended by the Labour Party and expelled from the pro-Corbyn pressure group Momentum and the GMB union for saying that Israel was a “racist endeavour” which “exaggerates” the murder of six million Jews by the Nazis for “political ends”.
In the same year, Mr Gregson set up LAZIR to support Jeremy Corbyn, to campaign for the International Definition of Antisemitism to be dropped by Labour and for Labour’s Jewish affiliate to be thrown out of the Party.
In September 2019, police officers removed an antisemitic poster outside the Labour Party Conference in Brighton. The poster depicted the then-Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, piloting a fighter jet labelled “the lobby” and yelling “Antisemite! Antisemite! Antisemite!” at the then-Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who is standing at a podium labelled “Palestinian rights”. The implication of the poster is that the Israeli Government or the “Israel lobby” — portrayed in a militaristic fashion — has weaponised antisemitism and is behind defamatory accusations of antisemitism against the Labour leader, and that Israel wields significant power over British political affairs. The poster was designed and put up by Mr Gregson.
Mr Gregson is believed to be a member of the Resist Movement, headed by the disgraced former Labour MP, Chris Williamson, and is believed to be the chair of the antisemitism-denial group Campaign Against Bogus 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.