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Labour candidate suspended over alleged anti-Semitic posts

Safia Ali was due to stand for the party in the Falkirk constituency in the upcoming General Election.

The Labour Party has suspended its Falkirk candidate Safia Ali after allegations of anti-Semitic posts on Facebook (Joe Giddens/PA)
The Labour Party has suspended its Falkirk candidate Safia Ali after allegations of anti-Semitic posts on Facebook (Joe Giddens/PA)

By Tom Eden, PA Scotland

Scottish Labour has dropped its Falkirk candidate Safia Ali over alleged anti-Semitic posts on Facebook.

The party immediately suspended Ms Ali once the posts – understood to be from an old Facebook account – came to light.

Scottish Labour said they “deeply regret” her selection.

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Safia Ali campaigning before her suspension by Scottish Labour (Safia Ali/Twitter)

A party spokesman said: “Safia Ali is no longer the Labour Party’s candidate for Falkirk.

“We have taken immediate action on this matter.

“We deeply regret that Safia Ali was selected and that Labour members and supporters will not have a Labour candidate to campaign and vote for.”

The posts that led to Ms Ali’s suspension are believed to have been shared on an old Facebook profile belonging to the candidate, which was not vetted during her selection.

Her case is expected to be investigated under Labour’s new disciplinary procedures for expelling members that was agreed at the party’s conference, which gives the National Executive Committee power to expel members within weeks.

Scottish Labour came second to the SNP’s John McNally at the 2017 election in Falkirk, trailing by 4,923 votes.

Although Ms Ali’s name will still appear on the ballot, Scottish Labour have withdrawn their support.

There is no place for anti-Semitism, or any form of racism and bigotry, in our party Michael Sharpe, Scottish Labour General Secretary

Scottish Labour’s general secretary Michael Sharpe told the BBC: “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.

“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.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has come under renewed pressure about the party’s handling of anti-Semitism.

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Jeremy Corbyn was quizzed on anti-Semitism by Andrew Neil (Jeff Overs/BBC/PA)

In an interview with Andrew Neil on Tuesday, Mr Corbyn resisted calls to apologise to Britain’s Jews after the country’s chief rabbi claimed he was allowing a “poison sanctioned from the top” to take root in Labour.

Mr Corbyn said: “I am determined that our society will be safe for people of all faiths.

“I don’t want anyone to be feeling insecure in our society and our government will protect every community.”

On Wednesday, the Scottish Conservatives withdrew support for their Glasgow Central candidate Flora Scarabello for allegedly using Islamophobic language.

A Scottish Conservative spokesman said: “We take allegations like this extremely seriously.

“There is no place in the Scottish Conservatives for anti-Muslim language, or any other form of racial or religious discrimination.

“As such, we have immediately suspended the candidate and the complaint will be thoroughly investigated.”

PA

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