Momentum urges members to back ‘Jewish donors’ slur candidate in Labour elections

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Momentum urges members to back ‘Jewish donors’ slur candidate in Labour elections

The pro-Corbyn group has called on its members to back George McManus, once suspended by Labour over 'Judas' comment, in forthcoming party vote.

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

George McManus accused MP Tom Watson of being in the pay of 'Jewish donors'
George McManus accused MP Tom Watson of being in the pay of 'Jewish donors'

The left-wing Momentum group has sparked fury after urging members to vote for an activist who apologised over a Facebook post about “Jewish donors”.

George McManus is vying to be re-elected onto Labour’s main policy making body, the National Policy Forum (NPF), as the Yorkshire and Humberside representative, in internal party elections.

In 2018, the East Riding activist was suspended by Labour after commenting on an online story about the party’s ex deputy leader Tom Watson calling for a halt to arguments over antisemitism within the party.

In a Facebook post McManus claimed Watson “received £50,000+ from Jewish donors” before adding: “At least Judas only got 30 pieces of silver.”

In 2018, when NPF elections were last held, Momentum announced it had dropped support for McManus as a candidate, saying it was “right” he was suspended by Labour.

But publicising its choices for the forthcoming 2022 NPF election, Momentum announced on 4 August it supported McManus again as one of five candidates for members to vote for in the Yorkshire and Humber area.

The campaign group tweeted: “We need reps that will defend socialist policy and support TUs (trade unions) in their fight for better pay.”

George McManus Facebook post

One senior Labour source told Jewish News:“It is extraordinary that Momentum are running an NPF candidate that they themselves dropped as a candidate for the role due to antisemitism.”

Another Jewish Labour source said Momentum’s actions “beggar belief.”

In 2018 Luciana Berger, then Labour MP for Liverpool Wavertree, alerted Labour Party HQ to McManus’s comment about Watson, saying: “It’s antisemitic and I’d like it to be investigated.”

McManus was suspended from the party in August 2018.

At the time Momentum applauded the decision, tweeting: “Thanks to those who drew attention to the appalling, antisemitic comment made by George McManus.

“We understand that he has now rightly been suspended from Labour. We will not tolerate any antisemitism, racism or online abuse from candidates we support.”

But his suspension was lifted just eight months later.

Momentum urge members in Yorkshire and Humber region to vote for George McManus

McManus apologised saying: “I’d like to apologise to Tom Watson and to the Jewish community for my drawing an analogy between him accepting money from Jewish donors and the biblical story of the betrayal by Judas.

“I fully accept that such an analogy is wrong and am sorry for making the comparison. I have now deleted the original post.”

McManus, a Labour member in the Beverley and Holderness CLP, had previously stood as the parliamentary candidate for the seat in 2005.

The NPF is made up of of reps from CLPs, trade unions, affiliates, the NEC, the PLP, the shadow cabinet and local government, and plays a key role in drafting policy documents for Labour’s annual conference to debate and vote on.

Jewish News has contacted Momentum for comment.

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