Jeremy Corbyn Defends New Labour MP After Calls For Suspension Over Facebook Anti-Semitism

8 June 2019, 18:18 | Updated: 8 June 2019, 18:29

Jeremy Corbyn said newly elected Peterborough MP Lisa Forbes is "not a racist" after she apologised for engaging with anti-Semitism on Facebook
Jeremy Corbyn said newly elected Peterborough MP Lisa Forbes is "not a racist" after she apologised for engaging with anti-Semitism on Facebook. Picture: Getty

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn defended Labour's newest MP after calls to have her suspended following a backlash over her engagement with anti-Semitic posts on social media.

Lisa Forbes apologised for liking an anti-Semitic post on Facebook, which drew criticism from party members and the Jewish Labour Movement who have called for her to be suspended.

She was also In a separate comment, she said she had "enjoyed reading" a thread suggesting the Islamic State was created "by the CIA and Mossad".

The new MP was elected in Peterborough's by-election, beating Nigel Farage's Brexit Party with a slim majority.

But Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Ms Forbes was "not a racist in any way whatsoever".

"She liked a video about showing solidarity with Christchurch victims without reading the accompanying text, which Facebook users know is an easy thing to do," Mr Corbyn said.

"She has fully accounted for this genuine mistake and apologised."

In her apology, Ms Forbes said she had "no issue with any community", and didn't pay "much attention" to the text accompanying the video.

"I apologised for that and I'm really sorry," she said.

"I just hope that people will understand that I don't have a bad bone in my body towards any race of people and anti-Semitism is just something I condemn completely."

MP Frank Field, who quit the Labour Party over the anti-Semitism row, told LBC that the new Peterborough MP should be suspended.

He said: "Everybody facing these charges should face withdrawal of the Labour whop, they should be suspended.

Mr Field added that it was "bonkers" that former Labour spin doctor Alastair Campbell was expelled from the party for revealing on LBC he voted for the Liberal Democrats in the European Elections - but that those facing allegations of anti-Semitism were not.

Labour backbencher Jess Philips tweeted against Ms Forbes, saying she "ignored and endorsed" anti-Semitism, after earlier saying that she could not be "gleeful or proud" because of "how it shows that anti-Semitism is becoming normal in the party".

Jewish Labour MP Margaret Hodge expressed "mixed feelings" over the by-election result.

In a tweet she wrote: "I never want to see Nigel Farage's party in Parliament, but Lisa Forbes and the Labour Party have a lot to answer for."