Lib Dems drop shortlisted London mayor candidate over ‘don’t vote for a Jew’ footage

A film has emerged of Geeta Sidhu-Robb urging Muslim voters not to back Jack Straw in the 1997 election


A Liberal Democrat shortlisted to stand for London mayor has been dropped by her party it emerged she had called on voters not to back a Jewish candidate.

The JC has seen footage of Geeta Sidhu-Robb using a megaphone during the 1997 election campaign in Blackburn to urge Muslim voters not to vote for her Labour opponent, former Labour Secretary Jack Straw, because he is “a Jew.”

After the Lib Dems were sent a complaint about the candidate’s remarks, which were filmed for a Channel 5 documentary, the party released a statement saying: “Geeta Sidhu-Robb has been suspended from the Liberal Democrats and will not be on the ballot paper to be the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London.

“There is an investigation underway in accordance with due process."

Then a Conservative candidate, the health food entrepreneur was shown in the footage saying she was going to “take the gloves off” after accusing the local Labour Party of telling Muslim voters she was “against Islam”.

Ms Sidhu-Robb, once a senior figure in the People’s Vote campaign, could be seen making allegations about the local Labour campaign, accusing it of “making it racist, it's making it personal….. particularly considering the fact that my husband actually is Muslim.”

She then announces: "So, we are just going to pull the gloves off. I am going to get a car and walk around, and drive through town telling everyone Jack Straw is a Jew. How is a Muslim going to vote for someone who is Jewish?

"That's it. That is what happened and that's what we're going to do about it."

In further scenes, she was filmed driving around part of the constituency with a megaphone, saying [in Urdu] that if people chose to vote for Mr Straw they were "voting for a Jew".

The subtitles used with the recording say she told voters: "Don't vote for a Jew, Jack Straw is a Jew.

"If you vote for him, you're voting for a Jew. Jews are the enemies of Muslims.

"Mark the 7th box [hers] on the ballot paper."

The Lib Dems had announced last week that Ms Sidhu-Robb, a former corporate lawyer, would go head-to-head with councillor Luisa Porrit for the party's nomination for London mayor, with the winner due to be announced on October 13.

Later in the footage, which has been removed from YouTube, the Lib Dem candidate says she regrets having carried out the campaign.

"I didn't want racism and bigotry to play a part in anything that I had anything to do with," she said. "I object strenuously to it. "I did it because I was furious. "So, I must admit I wish I hadn't done it."

Ms Sidhu-Robb finished second behind Mr Straw in the 1997 election.

Liberal Democrat Friends of Israel chair Gavin Stollar said : “These videos are at complete odds with our Party and the great city this individual is seeking our Party’s candidacy to represent.

“We must also look into how someone who holds such views was able to get through an internal selection process.”

On Sunday evening, Ms Sidhu Robb tweeted a statement saying: "I am deeply ashamed of the ignorant and abusive language I used on one occasion in the 1997 General Election campaign. As shown in the footage, I instantly regretted my appalling behaviour, which I continue to do.

"Those words are entirely inconsistent with my views and values, and though there are no excuses for my actions, there is some context; that is, that I was under a great deal of strain and retaliated to the racial abuse I was receiving in Blackburn ‘like for like’.

"Two wrongs never make a right. I made a mistake and I take responsibility for my abhorrent actions twenty three years ago, they were never repeated. I urge you to judge me on who I am today, a campaigner committed to eradicating inequality and discrimination in all its forms."

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