Newly-elected Labour councillor still under investigation over antisemitism posts

Sam Gorst won his Liverpool City Council seat, despite the probe and poor performance by Labour nationwide


A Labour activist who remains under investigation by the party over social media posts comparing Israel to the Nazis and defending Ken Livingstone has been elected as a councillor.

Sam Gorst won his Cherrington seat on Liverpool City Council by just 70 votes on Thursday, despite it emerging last month that he was subject to a probe.

Labour Against Antisemitism revealed that Cllr Gorst had written on Facebook that Ken Livingstone "must remain defiant throughout this antisemitism witchhunt", as the former London mayor was suspended by the party for his comments about Hitler and Zionism.

Cllr Gorst 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.

After the JC published a recording of the rant, left-wing campaign group Momentum dropped Mr Willsman as a candidate for re-election to the NEC.

But Cllr Gorst wrote: "Momentum needs to back Pete Willsman and apologise to the membership."

He also urged people to join Jewish Voice For Labour, the fringe pro-Corbyn group, saying: "It sickens me that some MPs and corrupt groups are still using antisemitism as a political weapon to call out our twice democratically elected leader."

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.

"The election of Sam Gorst as a Labour candidate, given his alleged antisemitic views, is extremely disappointing. That he will now be in a position of power on Liverpool City Council is a matter of grave concern," said LAAS spokesman Euan Phillips.

He added Labour "should have withdrawn their support for Mr Gorst and suspended him from the party as soon as the allegations against him came to light, making clear to the public the gravity of those allegations".

Labour declined to comment.

Also elected to Liverpool City Council was Sarah Doyle, who was revealed to have written on Twitter "u typical Jew" when she was a teenager in 2015.

She apologised, saying: "With the education I have received since joining the Labour Party, I now realise that the comment was ill-judged and unacceptable.

"I wholeheartedly apologise. Antisemitism is a real and serious scourge in modern society, and I recognise its presence in the Labour Party."

Not one of the three Labour candidates in Torbay who were suspended over alleged antisemitism after the JC revealed their social media posts about the party's antisemitism crisis was elected.

Results from the local elections in England and Northern Ireland are still coming in but Labour and the Conservatives both had bad nights.

The Tories lost more than 600 councillors while Labour lost 82, despite nine years of Conservative government.

In Salford City Council's Kersal ward, where 41 per cent of people are Jewish, Labour's share of the vote was 23 per cent lower than in 2015.

Jewish Labour Movement chair Mike Katz tweeted this result - in the electoral ward with the highest proportion Jewish voters  in the country - was "disappointing but not surprising".

The council with the highest proportion of Jewish voters - Barnet - did not hold elections this year.

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