Lib Dem mayoral hopeful expelled from the party over comments about Jews

Exclusive: Action taken against Geeta Sidhu-Robb in wake of hearing into her conduct


The founder of an organic foods company who was shortlisted to stand as a London mayoral candidate for the Liberal Democrats has been expelled from the party following a complaints panel hearing into comments she made about Jews.

Geeta Sidhu-Robb was pitted against councillor Luisa Porrit to land the party's nomination to challenge current Mayor of London Sadiq Khan in elections scheduled to take place in May.

But she was suspended in September after footage of her using a megaphone during the 1997 election campaign in Blackburn emerged in which she urged Muslim voters not to vote for her opponent, former Labour Secretary Jack Straw, because he is “a Jew”.

The JC has learned that a Lib Dem complaints panel hearing subsequently took place in relation to her conduct and whether she brought the party into disrepute after numerous complaints were submitted from  members.

Ms Sidhu-Robb was a member of the Conservative Party when she was filmed by a BBC documentary team making the remarks during the 1997 election campaign.

The complaints panel was told that Ms Sidhu-Rob was under considerable pressure on the day of the election when  a BBC TV documentary showed her using the words: “Jack Straw is a Jew; don’t vote for a Jew”.

She also said, “Jews are the enemies of Muslims”. The language used was Urdu, but it was translated in caption on the film.

Ms Sidhu-Robb left the Tories in 2019 and then  joined the Lib Dems. She also became chairwoman of  the pro-Europe Open Britain group set up after the 2016 Brexit referendum.

She put her name forward to be considered as the Lib Dem Candidate for Mayor of London but at no time did she reveal the existence of the 1997 film.

After the existence of the footage became apparent last September, Ms Sidhu-Robb gave a full apology for her actions in 1997 on camera and explained that the reason she did not mention the incident during the selection process was that she did not believe that something that happened 23 years ago would be construed as a problem today.

She denied that she was an antisemite and told the panel that in 1997 she was unaware of the tensions in the Middle East between Jews and Muslims. She added that she was undergoing a rehabilitation process.

It is understood that she emphasised that she felt that she was the victim of a personal vendetta being waged against her by various Lib Dem “WhatsApp” groups.

She also confirmed she still had aspirations to become an MP.

After considering the facts of the case and Ms Sidhu-Robb’s explanation, the panel unanimously decided to uphold all the complaints.

It resolved she should have her membership of the Lib Dems revoked with immediate effect and she be expelled from the party.

There was also criticism made of the failure of the Lib Dems’ selection process, which failed to discover Ms Sidhu-Robb’s previous remarks before she was announced on the shortlist.

Sir Ed Davey, the Lib Dem’s leader, has subsequently slammed party's officials failure to detect her comments  saying the "vetting system was completely flawed - at least it was in this case.

“I am determined we don’t make that mistake again."

Ms Sidhu-Robb told the JC on Friday:"“I have already publicly apologized for an act of momentary stupidity that took place 24 years ago under extreme provocation, but I am not a racist or anti-Semite and never have been, as anyone who knows me will attest.

"I find it deeply disappointing that a faction within the Liberal Democrats, who felt threatened by a fresh, engaging, female-centric approach to politics, have used this incident as a pretext to remove me from the party.

"However, I am now looking forward to focusing fully on my broader work, empowering a new generation of women to become strong, healthy, confident leaders by sharing the tools which have helped me during my career as an award-winning entrepreneur”.

A Lib Dem spokesperson added:"The Liberal Democrats take all allegations of this nature extremely seriously. The party suspended Geeta Sidhu-Robb within 24 hours of receiving a complaint and can confirm that, following our investigation, she was expelled late last year.”


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