Councillor who called Luciana Berger a ‘hideous traitor’ no longer standing for Labour
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Councillor who called Luciana Berger a ‘hideous traitor’ no longer standing for Labour

EXCLUSIVE: Sam Gorst, who also branded former Liverpool MP Dame Louise Ellman a 'disgrace', was filmed in September at a protest chanting: 'From the river to the sea Palestine will be free'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Cllr Sam Gorst (right) alongside Corbyn at the demo
Cllr Sam Gorst (right) alongside Corbyn at the demo

A Liverpool councillor who once described Dame Louise Ellman as “a disgrace” and former Jewish MP Luciana Berger as a “hideous traitor” is no longer a member of the city’s Labour Group.

Party sources told Jewish News that a message sent by the Liverpool Labour Group Whips office to local councillors confirmed  Sam Gorst would now sit as an independent.

It is understood that Gorst has been excluded from Labour for support of a group proscribed by the party’s NEC due to it being incompatible with Labour rules, aims, or values.

In a social media post seen by Jewish News, Gorst said he would be “appealing this injustice.”

In September Gorst had been filmed chanting “From the river to the sea Palestine will be free” at an anti-arms industry demo in the city.

Former Liverpool Riverside MP Ellman accused the councillor for the local Cressington Ward, of “singing Hamas chants” and of “bringing Labour into disrepute.”

Luciana Berger and Dame Louise Ellman, former MPs, who were targeted by Sam Gorst

Gorst, who has now taken off Labour Party branding from his social media pages, had previously been investigated over antisemitism allegations. He was suspended from Labour for 12 months in August 2020.

He was previously cleared of earlier antisemitism claims under Jeremy Corbyn and once said the former leader was a victim of a “smear campaign.”

When former Wavertree MP Berger launched a bid to become Merseyside mayor in 2016, Gorst branded her a “hideous traitor” .

He said it was a “disgrace” Ellman cited antisemitism when quitting Labour ahead of the 2019 election.

In further posts he had praised the Jewish Voice For Labour group and shared a post claiming it was not possible to “differentiate between Nazism and Zionism.”

Jewish News had first revealed back in September how Gorst had been seen joining in with anti-Israel chants and holding a banner on a demo called to protest about an arms fair in Liverpool the following month.

The protest – at which Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell were also speakers – was dominated by attacks on the presence of the Israeli owned defence and electronics firm Elbit at the fair, even though numerous other companies were there.

Other Labour MPs to express support for the protest included Luciana Berger’s replacement in Wavertree – Paula Barker, and Louise Ellman’s successor Kim Johnson.

One of the main orgainsers of the event was Audrey White, an activist facing an investigation into antisemitism claims, who was filmed leading chants of “Starmer out!” ahead of the speech given by former Labour leader Corbyn.

At one stage White told the crowd of around 750 people that “socialists in or party, like me, like Chris Williamson” were being “witchhunted” as a result of the Labour leadership’s decision to threaten those associated with groups now banned by the party with auto-exclusion.

 

Watch the moment Gorst chants ‘from the river to the see Palestine will be free’, alongside Jeremy Corbyn, at a protest march:

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