Labour has been condemned by its own MPs for readmitting an ex-MP, who had been suspended for saying he had lost "respect and empathy" for British Jews over the party's antisemitism crisis.
Jim Sheridan, who represented Paisley and Renfrewshire North until losing his seat in 2015 and is now a councillor, was suspended in August for writing that he had lost "respect and empathy for the Jewish community and their historic suffering… due to what they and their Blairite plotters are doing to my party".
He announced his suspension had been lifted and he was to face no action on Saturday, the day before Holocaust Memorial Day.
He extended "sincere apologies to the Jewish community" but added: "My accusers were misguided and overreacted to what was intended to highlight my personal frustration and criticism of those intent on undermining our leadership."
The decision provoked anger among Labour MPs.
Luciana Berger, who has faced continual antisemitic abusefor highlighting Jew-hate within her party, criticised Mr Sheridan's apology, called his readmission "so hurtful" and added: "There couldn't be a more insensitive time for this suspension to lift."
A real apology doesn’t come with qualification; it wouldn’t be acceptable if it had been directed at any other minority community.— Luciana Berger (@lucianaberger) January 26, 2019
And on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day there couldn’t be a more insensitive time for this suspension lift. It’s so hurtful. https://t.co/zLc6Cemjll
MP Ian Austin, a vocal critic of the party's handling of its antisemitism crisis, called it a "disgrace" and said Mr Sheridan should be kicked out of the party.
Jim Sheridan said his accusers were "misguided & overreacted".— Ian Austin (@IanAustinMP) January 26, 2019
He called the issue an "unfortunate distraction"
They dropped the case because he supports them.
They should boot him out.https://t.co/WTD31InL5J
The decision overshadowed Jeremy Corbyn's signing of the Holocaust Educational Trust's Book of Commitment, for which he was branded a "hypocrite".
The day after Labour let Jim Sheridan - who said he no longer had respect or empathy for the Jewish community - back into the party. Hypocrite. https://t.co/FrxW4ipCxC— Sam Freedman (@Samfr) January 26, 2019
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.”