Corbyn Suspends U.K. Labour Lawmaker Over Antisemitic Posts

Naz Shah Portrait Session

Labour Party MP Naz Shah.

Photographer: Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images
  • Labour's Shah apologizes for social-media posts about Israel
  • Antisemitism controversy hits Labour a week before elections

U.K. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn suspended one of his lawmakers, Naz Shah, after a controversy over social-media postings that included a suggestion that Israelis be relocated to America.

“Jeremy Corbyn and Naz Shah have mutually agreed that she is administratively suspended,” the party said Wednesday in an e-mailed statement. “Pending investigation, she is unable to take part in any party activity and the whip is removed,” it said, meaning that she won’t be regarded as a Labour representative in the House of Commons.

Corbyn had earlier said Shah could remain a party member after making what he described as a “fulsome” apology. Shah, a Muslim who represents Bradford West in northern England, quit as an aide to Labour’s Treasury spokesman, John McDonnell, on Tuesday and apologized for posts about Israel and Hitler that predated her election to the House of Commons last year.

After a meeting with Corbyn earlier on Wednesday, she had been allowed to continue sitting as a Labour member of Parliament, despite protests from other lawmakers.

The controversy comes at a sensitive time for Corbyn, a week before local ballots across England and elections to the Scottish and Welsh legislatures on May 5. Labour is trying to recover from an unexpectedly comprehensive defeat in last year’s general election, and next week’s vote is the biggest test yet for the new leader, himself a surprise choice to head the party.

‘Effectively Racism’

David Cameron challenged Corbyn over Shah’s status when the two men clashed at the prime minister’s weekly question-and-answer session in the Commons on Wednesday. He cited comments made last month to the Independent newspaper by McDonnell that “if people express these views, full stop, they’re out.”

“Frankly, there’ll be too many hours in the day before that happens to the MP in question,” Cameron said. “Antisemitism is effectively racism and we should call it out and fight it wherever we see it.”

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