'Corbyn ally' who intervened to stop suspension of Labour member over antisemitic image was Thomas Gardiner

The former adviser to party chairman Ian Lavery said it was 'anti-Israel, not anti-Jewish'


The ally of Jeremy Corbyn who was revealed as having directed that a Labour member who posted an antisemitic image from a far-right website should not face immediate suspension because they judged it was "anti-Israel, not anti-Jewish" has been named as Thomas Gardiner.

In February, the JC revealed that, while there was no questioning of Mr Gardiner's professional behaviour, there was concern he had become a "cog in the wheel" of the Labour leadership's machine.

A former adviser to party chairman Ian Lavery, there was open concern among other staff members when Mr Gardiner was appointed head of Labour's governance and legal unit at the same time as Jennie Formby became general secretary.

There were fears among some staff that cases of alleged antisemitism were being dismissed before being properly considered by the party's National Constitutional Committee (NCC).

MPs challenged the Labour leadership last month over the case of Kayla Bibby, who posted an antisemitic image of an alien with the Star of David on its back grasping the Statue of Liberty by the face, suggesting control over the US.

The 33-year-old activist added the Facebook caption: "The most accurate photo I've seen all year!"

The case was examined last year and Ms Bibby, who attended Labour's conference in September as a delegate from the Liverpool Riverside constituency, was let off with a warning.

Emails leaked to The Times on Tuesday revealed that "an ally of Mr Corbyn" rejected the suggestion by Labour Party staff to suspend her. They said that the images were not antisemitic.

Mr Gardiner, a councillor on London's Camden Council, is believed to have overseen numerous other complaints about alleged antisemitism over the past year. There were claims earlier this week he had resigned from his job - but it was then suggested by Labour sources he was on holiday.


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