Labour’s candidate in the Scottish constituency of Falkirk Safia Ali has been withdrawn after she was suspended from the party for allegedly making anti-semitic posts on Facebook.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.”
Scottish Labour has removed its election candidate for Falkirk.— LAAS (@LabourAgainstAS) November 28, 2019
- Labour candidate Safia Ali was suspended in relation to antisemitic posts on Facebook. #VoteLabourVoteRacism#NeverCorbyn #GE2019 https://t.co/YzCBD57Phu
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.
I hate to think how bad Safia Ali’s anti semitism must be if she isn’t allowed to stand as a Labour Parliamentary candidate anymore.— Chris Steward (@chrisdsteward) November 28, 2019
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.
Labour will correct the historic wrong against women born in the 1950s!— Safia Ali (@Safia4Falkirk) November 24, 2019
In a Labour Government we will compensate those women who have had their pensions stolen from them!
Vote for Labour on the 12th of December so we can bring justice for the WASPI women #ForTheMany #WASPI https://t.co/YUdtmyTEdP
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”.
My response to Chief Rabbi Mirvis setting out the decisive actions we’ve taken (and continue to take) under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership to tackle antisemitism in the Labour Party. https://t.co/IrvUWnWeKc— Jennie Formby (@JennieGenSec) November 27, 2019
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.