The chair of Labour’s disputes panel has resigned, after sending an email earlier this week supporting the reinstatement of a suspended Labour council candidate accused of Holocaust denial.
Christine Shawcroft, who was elected to head the party’s disputes sub-committee in January, contacted a number of fellow members of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) on Sunday, urging the reinstatement of Alan Bull, a council candidate in Peterborough.
Mr Bull shared an article on Facebook with the title: “International Red Cross report confirms the Holocaust of 6m Jews is a hoax”. It showed a picture of the gates of Auschwitz, with the words “Arbeit Macht Frei” replaced by “Muh Holocaust”, a taunt used by the far right to mock Jews.
Mr Bull was suspended last Thursday. In a subsequent email to members of the NEC, Ms Shawcroft said she was “concerned” to hear of Mr Bull’s suspension, and claimed that the Facebook post had been “taken completely out of context and alleged to show antisemitism”.
She went on to say that some people had “political reasons for wanting Mr Bull suspended”, and recommended his “reinstatement”.
However, in a statement last night announcing her resignation, she said she “sent this email before being aware of the full information about this case and I had not been shown the image of his abhorrent Facebook post.
“Had I seen this image, I would not have requested that the decision to suspend him be re-considered. I am deeply sorry for having done so."
Ms Shawcroft, who is a director of the far-left Momentum group within the Labour party, is still a member of Labour’s National Executive Committee. This morning, John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor, was asked multiple times whether he felt she should stand down from this position, but refused to answer, saying that “it's an elected position, it's up to the electors to decide.”
Jennifer Gerber, director of Labour Friends of Israel, said: "Christine Shawcroft should be suspended from the Labour Party and kicked off the NEC. Those who defend Holocaust deniers should have no place in the Labour Party. If Jeremy Corbyn is serious about his new zero tolerance approach to antisemitism he will deal with this as a matter of urgency.”