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Labour offers to readmit member following 'antisemitic' remarks

Offer of readmission comes as a Jewish Labour MP is reportedly subjected to 'obsessive' member interrogations over Israel

    Momentum politicians are increasingly influential on Labour's National Executive Committee
    Momentum politicians are increasingly influential on Labour's National Executive Committee (Photo: Getty Images)

    A man who defended a late Labour politician for saying Tony Blair had been “unduly influenced by a cabal of Jewish advisers” is among several hard-left activists recently offered readmission to the Labour Party.

    Mike Sivier was suspended by the party last year for remarks he made about Jews and Zionism, including a claim that he could not comment on whether thousands or millions of Jews died in the Holocaust he said “I don’t know”.

    In a post on his website, he said “it may be entirely justified” for former Scottish Linlithgow MP Tam Dalyell to remark that Tony Blair had been unduly influenced by a cabal of Jewish advisers”.

    Mr Sivier is the author of The Livingstone Presumption, a book defending former London mayor Ken Livingstone.

    The Sunday Times reported that Labour’s National Executive Committee, the governing body in which Momentum-backed politicians have become influential, voted by 12 to 10 to issue a warning but not expel Mr Sivier.

    He was also instructed to attend a workshop on antisemitism run by the Jewish Labour Movement, but he said he would not attend on the grounds that he was not guilty.

    “I’m not accepting my readmission under the terms offered to me,” Mr Sivier said.

    A Labour source told the JC that Mr Sivier's readmission was "a necessary condition" of his continued membership and that, as he had refused the training, he would not be readmitted to the party.

    Mr Sivier told the JC that he was not a Holocaust denier. He said his comment on the numbers killed referred to another post in which the SWP had queried the total who were murdered: “I have always used the ‘high’ figure of six million Jews who were killed in the Nazi Holocaust. I know some have suggested there were fewer deaths, and I know some have suggested it is antisemitic to suggest that there were fewer deaths, but my reasoning is much simpler than that; it seems to me that, even if there is doubt about the number of deaths, it would be disrespectful of the dead not to use the highest possible figure.”

    A separate leaked investigation showed Labour MP Louise Ellman has been repeatedly subjected to “obsessive interrogations” on Israel during meetings in her Liverpool Riverside constituency.

    The report concluded that a “significant proportion of each meeting is given over to intense questioning on Israel from the floor” and that the Israel-Palestine conflict is used “as a platform to attack” Ms Ellman, who is Jewish.

    Other individuals readmitted to the Labour Party this week include the 76-year-old Alan Fogg, who played a leading role in the Trotskyist group Militant’s takeover of Liverpool council in the 1980s, and Janine Booth, who stood for socialist parties against Labour in 2001 and 2006.

    This article was edited after Mr Sivier contacted the JC to say that he was not a Holocaust denier.

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