Labour expels councillor who said claims of antisemitism given ‘privileged’ status

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Labour expels councillor who said claims of antisemitism given ‘privileged’ status

Wirral official Jo Bird has been kicked out over her support for the proscribed group Labour Against the Witch Hunt

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Jo Bird
Jo Bird

A Labour councillor who told activists that allegations of antisemitism were given a “privileged” status over other racism claims has been expelled from the party over her support for a banned organisation.

Jo Bird, an elected representative on the Wirral, Merseyside, confirmed she had been expelled from Labour in a social media post.

The Jewish Voice for Labour member had been charged in August with speaking at events organised by the Labour Against The Witch-hunt  (LATW) group, which was proscribed by the party the previous month, in an attempt to tackle the denial and downplaying of anti-Jewish racism.

Notified of her auto-exclusion from Labour last week, Bird tweeted she was “delighted” to have been expelled.

She added:”“I feel free, I’m free from this ridiculous oppressive regime that the Labour Party has become.”

Since joining Labour under Jeremy Corbyn Bird had given a series of speeches attempting to suggest claims of antisemitism were taken more seriously by Labour than other forms of racism.

She attacked the earlier expulsion of the activist Marc Wadsworth as “unfair”, and said “due process” should be known as “Jew process.”

In an article on the Jewish Voice For Labour website Bird wrote: “One thing that worries me is the privileging of racism against Jews as more worthy of resources than other forms of discrimination such as against black people, Muslim people and people who have crossed borders to this country.”

Bird has previously told how her Jewish grandfather “never knew his cousins because they perished in the Holocaust.”

In a second high profile expulsion, Pamela Fitzpatrick, a former parliamentary candidate in Harrow East was also notified of her auto-exclusion from Labour.

The Harrow councillor, who repeatedly defended Corbyn over his handling of antisemitism, was expelled over her involvement with the self-declared Marxist group Socialist Appeal, which was one of the four organisations banned by Labour.

Fitzpatrick had given an interview to the group as she launched an unsuccessful bid to become Labour’s general secretary.

When she stood for election at the 2019 poll in a Harrow East seat many expected Labour to win, the Tory incumbent Bob Blackman increased his majority.  Jewish support for Labour in the seat was believed to have dipped.

Confirming her expulsion from Labour, Fitzpatrick wrote on social media:”“They have no grounds to expel me, but they’ve done it anyway.”

Labour national executive (NEC) members Laura Pidcock and Nadia Jama also submitted a motion ahead of a meeting this week claiming a ban on “support” for various proscribed organisations had not defined what support meant.

It was also alleged that retrospectively applying it to discipline members for actions prior to the ban contravened natural justice.

Jewish News has contacted Labour for comment.

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