Disbelief at reports Labour may restore whip to ‘Gaza is like the Holocaust’ MP

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Disbelief at reports Labour may restore whip to ‘Gaza is like the Holocaust’ MP

Kate Osamor was put under investigation in January after she likened Israel’s war with Hamas to the Final Solution

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Kate Osamor, the MP for Edmonton,
Kate Osamor, the MP for Edmonton,

Reports that Labour is considering restoring the whip to the suspended MP Kate Osamor three months after she made offensive comments on Holocaust Memorial Day have sparked “anger and disbelief” among communal figures and local members.

The MP for Edmonton was placed under investigation over a social media post which likened Israel’s war in Gaza with the Holocaust.

But a report in the Independent newspaper on Thursday claimed she would be welcomed back by Labour, possibly on 1 May.

Labour sources insisted that the process is still ongoing.

Jewish News understands that any decision made on Osamor is likely to be the result of independent advice offered on disciplinary matters, which is then relayed back to the party whips.

A JLM source said: “Osamor’s apology this time will have to be spectacularly sincere, contrite and demonstrate true understanding of the deep hurt she caused the Jewish community to cut the mustard.

“Given her past form, we’ll remain sceptical that she has truly learned any lessons; in her actions as well as words.”

Osamor email to local members

Meanwhile, another senior figure in Edmonton Labour party told Jewish News any decision to readmit Osamor would prompt “anger and disbelief” among local members.

They pointed to a vote of no confidence in the local MP passed overwhelmingly with the CLP after Osamor’s suspension.

There are also claims of other “outstanding issues” relating to the MP within the local party.

In January, in her weekly email to local members in her north London constituency, Osamor had noted the annual Holocaust Memorial Day was upcoming , and said there was an “international duty to remember the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust” before listing “more recent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and now Gaza”.

The post immediately sparked anger with the Board of Deputies, Holocaust Educational Trust and the Jewish Labour Movement among those criticising the MP.

Osamor apologised for the post and instead referred to the situation in Gaza as a “humanitarian disaster” as opposed to a “genocide”, but was suspended

One supporter of hers told the Independent she was told she would be judged on how closely she followed the labour whip, despite being suspended by the party.

Osamor was elected to represent Edmonton in 2015 and was made a shadow minister for women and equalities and shadow secretary of state for international development under Jeremy Corbyn.

In 2020 she was told to apologise by parliament’s standards commissioner after being found in breach of the MPs’ code of conduct in relation to her son’s conviction for a drugs offence.

She was also found to have damaged the reputation of the Commons by using abusive language to a journalist enquiring about the case.

A report by former standards commissioner Kathryn Stone noted that Ms Osamor swore at a journalist and told him she “should have come down here with a f***ing bat and smashed your face open” after he asked questions about her son’s case.

One local party member also complained that Osamor was rarely seen campaigning locally with activists on the doorstep.

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