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Labour Withdraws Candidate Over 'Anti-Semitic' Facebook Posts Days After Chief Rabbi’s Warning

© REUTERS / Peter NichollsJeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party, campaigns in Southampton, May 2, 2017
Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of Britain's opposition Labour Party, campaigns in Southampton, May 2, 2017 - Sputnik International
The Labour Party and its leader Jeremy Corbyn has been struggling to shrug off claims that it has a problem with anti-Semitism. Earlier this week Britain’s Chief Rabbi told people to “vote with their conscience.”

Labour’s candidate in the Scottish constituency of Falkirk Safia Ali has been withdrawn after she was suspended from the party for allegedly making anti-semitic posts on Facebook.

Ali, who was hoping to overturn SNP MP John McNally’s majority of almost 5,000, was selected for the seat last year.

A Labour Party spokesman told the Falkirk Herald newspaper: “Safia Ali is no longer the Labour Party’s candidate for Falkirk. We have taken immediate action on this matter. We deeply regret Safia Ali was selected.”

​Her removal comes only days after Britain’s Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, threw petrol on the flames of the anti-Semitism affair by claiming Labour had failed to tackle the issue properly.

In a letter to The Times newspaper Mr Mirvis said "a new poison - sanctioned from the very top - has taken root" in the Labour Party.

​Corbyn, when interviewed by the BBC’s Andrew Neil on Tuesday, 26 November, turned down the opportunity to apologise to Britain’s Jewish community four times.

The Labour Party has repeatedly said there have only been a small number of anti-Semitism cases out of a membership of 500,000 and many of the party’s supporters point out that criticism of Israel and the Israeli government’s policies are sometimes wrongly labelled as anti-Semitism.

Corbyn has long been a supporter of the Palestinian cause and has often criticised Israel.

​But the claims of anti-Semitism within Labour have badly damaged its chances in many constituencies with large Jewish communities - including Finchley and Golders Green, Hendon, Chipping Barnet and Bury South.

The choice of Safia Ali as a candidate in Falkirk would seem to have been a strange one, considering she stood as an independent in council elections as recently as 2017.

Scottish Labour general secretary Michael Sharpe said: “I deeply regret the people of the Falkirk constituency will no longer have a Labour candidate to campaign and vote for on December 12. There is no place for anti-semitism, or any form of racism and bigotry, in our party. That is why Labour is taking robust action to root it out of our movement and wider society.”

​He added: “The Party has significantly strengthened our procedures, with swift suspensions, new processes for rapid expulsions and an education programme for members. While I cannot go into details about individual cases, I can confirm that the Party has acted immediately and decisively to remove this candidate.”

The row over Ms Ali has overshadowed another controversy - the Conservatives have withdrawn their support for candidate Flora Scarabello in Glasgow Central after she was accused of using “anti-Muslim language”.

​Last week another Conservative candidate - Ryan Houghton in Aberdeen North - was suspended over anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and homophobic comments he reportedly made seven years ago.

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