A Liverpool Labour councillor with a track-record of posting insults directed at former Merseyside MPs Luciana Berger and Dame Louise Ellman and of defending hard-left figures accused of antisemitism has been suspended from the party.
Sam Gorst, who won the Cressington ward seat on Liverpool City Council at last year’s elections, has been informed of his sanction, which leaves him suspended for the party for 12 months.
In recent days Cllr Gorst messaged contacts on social media informing them he would no longer be using his personal Facebook or Twitter accounts – but that he was contactable on his “political profile page on Facebook”.
He was previously cleared of antisemitism allegations last summer under former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and later claimed he was the victim of a “smear campaign.”
It is not known what the reasons are for Mr Gorst's suspension and Labour has refused to disclose the reasons behind the decision to now take action against Mr Gorst. But party sources said that as part of reforms agreed at the annual conference in 2019, the ruling NEC body can exercise its power to apply a 12-month suspension in disciplinary cases.
In July, Cllr Gorst had backed a move by a far-left website to lodge a bizarre complaint to the party about new leader Sir Keir Starmer, claiming he had breached the IHRA definition of antisemitism.
This complaint made to the party revolved around a claim that Sir Keir was targeting anti-Zionist Jews, who were wrongly being accused of antisemitism.
Mr Gorst was also open in his criticism of the Labour leader’s decision to remove Rebecca Long-Bailey from his shadow cabinet after she refused to take down a tweet supporting an article which featured an actress blaming Israel for the killing of the black American George Floyd.
Asked to comment on the Liverpool councillor’s suspension on Thursday, a Labour spokesperson told the JC: “The Labour Party takes all complaints extremely seriously and they are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken.”
The JC has previously reported on social media posts by Mr Gorst.
He had openly branded former Liverpool Wavertree MP Ms Berger a "hideous traitor" in 2016 when she launched a bid to become the city's mayor.
In further posts, he bizarrely described the Jewish Voice for Labour Group as "a more fitting group for the Labour membership" than the Jewish Labour Movement - even though Mr Gorst is not Jewish himself.
Cllr Gorst had also defended Pete Willsman, who ranted about Jewish people being "Trump fanatics and all the rest of it" during a meeting of Labour's National Executive Committee.
In another post, he shared someone else's claim that they could not "differentiate between Nazism and Zionism as two criminal regimes in this picture" alongside images of the Gaza Strip's border with Israel and a concentration camp fence.
Last October he also branded Dame Ellman a “disgrace" for quitting the party over antisemitism.
Mr Gorst told his local Liverpool Echo newspaper on Thursday he would be appealing the decision to suspend him.