A Labour candidate tipped to become the party's deputy leader has defended using the words Jesus Christ is said to have uttered as he was about to be crucified to describe modern day critics of Jeremy Corbyn.
Laura Pidcock told an audience at the launch of her campaign to become the MP for North West Durham at the weekend: “I have absolute faith that this is our time.
“I know we are on the path towards justice. And I know because Jeremy Corbyn might become PM they will throw everything at us.
“They will say some really hurtful things. Forgive them. For they know not what they do.”
Ms Pidcock's final sentence – “Forgive them. For they know not what they do” – is according to the New Testament, amongst the final words said to have been spoken by Christ before he was crucified.
But over the centuries these very words have also been frequently used by those wishing to strir up religious hatred amongst the Jews.
On Saturday night a spokesperson for Ms Pidcock, one of the favourites to become the replacement for Tom Watson as Labour deputy leader, confirmed to the JC: “Laura said a well known and often quoted verse from the bible at her campaign launch.
"Any suggestion that her doing so was antisemitic is absurd and defamatory.”
Ms Pidcock's father Bernard was a former Catholic priest before going on to become a Labour councillor on Northumberland County Council.
Ms Pidcock – aiming to regain the seat she won 2017 – is the Shadow Secretary of State for Employment Rights.
Ms Pidcock’s speech came on the same day the Liverpool Walton candidate Dan Carden was forced to deny claims he had sung ‘Hey Jew’ instead of ‘Hey Jude’ while the Beatles song was played on a coach full of journalists in 2018.