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Labour criticised for reinstating ex-MP over antisemitism row | Politics News

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The chair of the Jewish Labour Movement has accused her own party of “risible” and “hurtful” behaviour for reinstating the membership of a former MP accused of antisemitism.

Jim Sherdian, who used to represent Paisley and Renfrewshire North in the House of Commons and is now a councillor, was suspended and investigated after reports he posted comments online saying he had lost “respect and empathy” for the Jewish community amid the antisemitism row.

Labour MP Luciana Berger, who chairs the Jewish Labour Movement, said on Saturday it was “risible” that Mr Sheridan had not been subject to any disciplinary action and “hurtful” of the party to reinstate him on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day.

In a statement issued on Friday, Mr Sheridan apologised to the Jewish community but hit out at his accusers whom he said had “overreacted”.

“Whilst I am delighted with this decision, I remain of the view that my accusers were misguided and overreacted to what was intended to highlight my personal frustration and criticism of those intent on undermining our leadership in Scotland and the UK.

Jim Sheridan has been suspended from the party
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Jim Sheridan was suspended from the party

“I would also like to reiterate my sincere apologies to the Jewish community whose historic struggle I have supported all my political life,” he said.

In response, Ms Berger posted on Twitter that “a real apology doesn’t come with qualification”, adding “it wouldn’t be acceptable if it had been directed at any other minority community”.

She also accused Labour of readmitting other members who have been suspended over claims of antisemitism.

A demonstrator holding a painting saying "For the many not the Jew"
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Labour said it takes all complaints of antisemitism ‘extremely seriously’

Labour MP Ian Austin also criticised his party, writing on Twitter that the party should “boot [Jim Sheridan] out”.

Paul Masterton, Scottish Conservative MP for East Renfrewshire, said: “This is an appalling decision that sends the wrong message entirely to the Jewish community.

Labour's Luciana Berger during her speech in the House of Commons
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Labour’s Luciana Berger accused Labour of ‘hurtful’ behaviour

“Sneaked out apologetically, on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day, it takes on extra meaning.

“[Scottish Labour leader] Richard Leonard should be utterly ashamed for having allowed to happen on his watch.”

A Labour spokesman said: “The Labour Party takes all complaints of antisemitism extremely seriously and we are committed to challenging and campaigning against it in all its forms.

“All complaints about antisemitism are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken.”

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