Former MP says Labour factionalism hampered my comeback

An ex-Labour MP who was elected under Jeremy Corbyn accused the party "factionalism" in rejecting her bid for a candidate in the next general elections.

Former MP says Labour factionalism hampered my comeback

An ex-Labour MP who was elected under Jeremy Corbyn accused the party "factionalism" in rejecting her bid for a candidate in the next general elections.

Lisa Forbes wanted a comeback in Peterborough. She won the seat and held it for six months in 2019.

Labour chose not to select her after raising concerns about the posts she had made on social media in 2019, which were condemned by Jewish groups as anti-Semitic.

According to the party, all candidates were informed why they weren't selected.

Labour spokesperson Sir Keir Starmer stated that he "is committed to ensuring being a Labour candidate marks quality."

The spokesperson stated that Labour leader, David Cameron, is committed to keeping his promise to eradicate anti-Semitism from its roots. "The public has a right to know who the Labour Party puts forward for election is of high quality."

Ms Forbes won the Peterborough By-Electoral in June 2019, but she lost her seat in the general election later that year.

Ms Forbes was asked by the BBC why Labour hadn't backed her to run again for the seat.

She stated that she believed her crime was having the nerve to stand for a by-election while Jeremy Corbyn was leader. They are no longer supportive of my candidacy and me before that.

"I am willing to stand under Keir Sternmer, as I said, I'm no factional person. But I believe other people are."

Following the 2019 election, in which the Conservatives won a large majority, Mr Corbyn was elected Labour leader. His leadership was marred by anti-Semitism allegations.

An investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, (EHRC), revealed that the Labour Party had committed discriminatory acts against Jewish people.

Shortly after publication, Corbyn called anti-Semitism "abhorrent" but stated that "the scale and severity of the problem was also dramatically exaggerated for political reasons".

Sir Keir suspended Mr Corbyn's membership of the parliamentary party, and he is now an independent MP.

Later tweets by Ms Forbes stated that the report was "not the damning indictment many seemed to wish it would be" and she defended Mr Corbyn who she said wasn't anti-Semitic.

Labour Against Antisemitism reported to the BBC this week that it had sent these tweets to Labour. They also demanded Ms Forbes be removed from the party.

According to the party, all complaints are investigated and taken seriously. However, individual cases are not considered.

Sir Keir responded to 2020's EHRC findings and stated that there would be "zero tolerance" for anti-Semitism under his leadership. He stated, "If you are anti-Semitic you should not be anywhere near this party."

Labour has begun compiling shortlists for candidates to contest seats held currently by other parties, with the next general elections expected in 2024.

Ms Forbes applied for the Labour nomination in Peterborough, a marginal currently held at Tory MP Paul Bristow. She had already begun campaigning online and had already made her application. Her candidacy was supported by Rachel Hopkins, the shadow minister and Clive Lewis, a former frontbencher.

Ms Forbes was not selected and was informed by the party's selection committee via phone call and email last Friday.

Forbes stated, "I must have done the due diligence to obtain that email,"

She said that although the reason was not stated explicitly, evidence of her social media activity was shared to her by the selection team as part of background checks. This was discussed with her in a meeting.

The evidence was compiled in a document that was seen by BBC. It included screenshots of posts shared and liked by Mr Corbyn.

Ms Forbes was embroiled in controversy after she posted comments that were deemed anti-Semitic and condemned by Jewish Labour groups during the 2019 by-election campaign.

She liked a Facebook post that featured text that stated former Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May had an "Zionist slave masters" agenda.

Ms Forbes stated that the video was meant to show solidarity with victims of the Christchurch terror attacks in 2019. She clicked the like button, but she didn't read the text.

She also commented on a post whose writer claimed Islamic extremists were responsible for the creation of the CIA, Mossad, and the Israeli intelligence agency.

Ms Forbes apologized and admitted that the content she had "mistakenly committed with" was "deeply offensive, contained anti-Semitic tropes and language which harm the Jewish community".

Labour Against Antisemitism called the win in her by-election a "dark moment" for their party.

Forbes claimed she learned from her mistakes and attended an anti-Semitism class run by Yad Vashem. She also met with Jewish groups such as the Board of Deputies.

She asked, "Is the Labour Party saying you cannot ever recover from that?" It's impossible to make amends for a wrong.

She said that candidates without any connection to Peterborough were "parachuted into". These candidates are Andrew Pakes, deputy general secretary to the Prospect Union; Naushabah Khan, Labour councillor, and Dave Rowntree who is the drummer of Blur.

Labour Against Antisemitism stated that Labour must continue to show that it has a zero tolerance policy towards anti-Jewish racists - not just what it says.

This is particularly important when choosing candidates to run for public office.

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