Greens announce Jo Bird as ‘prospective parliamentary candidate’

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Greens announce Jo Bird as ‘prospective parliamentary candidate’

Jewish Labour Movement national chair Mike Katz asks, 'Do the Greens really think she’s fit to be an MP?'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Jo Bird announced as Green parliamentary candidate for Birkenhead
Jo Bird announced as Green parliamentary candidate for Birkenhead

The Green Party have selected a councillor embroiled in antisemitism claims before she was expelled by Labour as one of their parliamentary candidates.

Jo Bird – eventually expelled from Labour over her support for a proscribed organisation that downplayed or denied anti-Jewish racism allegations in the party – has been confirmed as the Greens “prospective parliamentary candidate for Birkenhead.”

The announcement, made on the local Wirral Green social media pages, immediately sparked renewed alarm that the Greens are willing to turn a blind eye to high-profile cases expulsions from Labour and welcome them into their party.

Bird was expelled by Labour in November 2021 after she spoke at a Labour Against the Witchhunt (LAW) meeting in 2018 and signing their petition in 2020.

She had a long-record of making inflammatory comments, ranting against “fake claims” of antisemitism in Labour under Jeremy Corbyn, joking about “Jew process” in reference to disciplinary affairs, and defending the activist Mark Wadsworth, after he was expelled for his high-profile outburst at Ruth Smeeth, now Baroness Anderson.

Bird also spoke of what she claimed was the “privileging” of antisemitism over other forms of racism.

Responding to the Greens announcement that Bird would attempt to become an MP, Mike Katz, national chair of the Jewish Labour Movement told Jewish News;“It’s bad enough the Green Party accepting Jo Bird into their ranks after she was expelled from Labour for supporting groups which denied the party’s problem with antisemitism.

“JLM wrote to their leaders to point out rewarding racism wasn’t progressive – but they ignored us.

“Now they’ve decided to double down and install Ms Bird as a parliamentary candidate. Do the Greens really think she’s fit to be an MP? This is a terrible decision and will offend Jews in Merseyside and beyond.“

The Jewish Labour councillor Joshua Garfield also tweeted:”Jo Bird was kicked out of Labour for supporting a group that corralled support for antisemite Chris Williamson and labelled Jews fighting antisemitism as ‘witch hunters.’

“The Greens welcoming expelled Labour activists with open arms tells you everything about their values.”

Bird had branded Labour “racist’ after she was expelled and subsequently joined the Greens, and the Jewish Greens group, which said she comes “from a long tradition of Jewish eco-socialists, passionate about equality, justice and fighting all forms of racism.”

Zack Polanski, the deputy leader of the Green Party, who is himself Jewish, defended Bird’s appointment, when asked by Jewish News what sort of message her senior role with Jewish Greens sent out to the wider community about the group.

Polanski, Jewish Greens treasurer, said:”As the first Jewish Deputy Leader in British politics, I’m really proud of the work of Jewish Greens in the Green Party, working together to tackle antisemitism in society.”

In March, JLM wrote to the Green Party leaders Carla Denyer and Adrian Ramsay expressing concern about the party’s record over antisemitism.

A letter, signed by national chair Katz, and national secretary Adam Langleben, also highlighted the conduct on social media of an elected Greens councillor in the city of Norwich.

Bird announced her attempt to reach Westminster by tweeting “Birkenhead deserves a better MP.”

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