Richard Burgon says he 'did not lie' when he falsely denied saying 'Zionism is the enemy of peace'

Labour's shadow justice secretary claimed he had not used the words but was later revealed to have said just that


Labour's Richard Burgon has claimed he "did not lie" when he falsely insisted he had never said "Zionism is the enemy of peace".

The shadow justice secretary's untruth was exposed earlier this year when investigative reporter Iggy Ostanin unearthed a video of Mr Burgon giving a passionate speech during the 2014 Gaza War in which he said, as alleged: "The enemy of the Palestinian people are Zionists and Zionism is the enemy of peace and the enemy of the Palestinian people.”

But last year he insisted repeatedly that he “didn’t say that” and “that’s not my view" when asked about it on the BBC.

He was confronted by Emma Barnett on Thursday's BBC Newsnight who asked: "You said, not only 'I didn't say that', you said 'I don't believe that'. Why on earth should we believe anything you have to say when you outright lied?"

"I certainly didn't lie," he said, adding he was asked by "a newspaper" in 2016 which could not tell him where he had made the statement.

He said broadcaster Andrew Neil asked the same question in 2018 and at that point he still did not remember saying it so said he had not.

He said the speech was "from 2014, five years ago, before I was even a Member of Parliament".

Ms Barnett called the speech in which he made the remarks "impassioned" and listed the other statements, including "Zionism is the enemy of the Palestinian people."

She asked again "Why did you lie?"

Mr Burgon said: "I just explained, I didn't lie."

The encounter angered Jewish Labour Movement chair Mike Katz, who said his letter to Labour demanding an explanation from Mr Burgon received "no reply, let alone an apology and resignation".

"Guess the party leadership really wants to rebuild trust with the Jewish community," he said.

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