Wednesday, February 21

Jess Phillips suspends aide over tweets



Labour leadership contender Jess Phillips has suspended one of her key aides over completely unacceptable messages posted on social media.

The decision came after the The Mail on Sunday uncovered tweets from the team member, in which they described Israel as the murderer that was inflicting Holocaust conditions on Palestinians.

Despite admitting she was really sad to have taken action against a valued member of staff, Ms Phillips said the suspension was necessary and the only was to start building a bridge again with the Jewish community.

The tweets were posted between 2014 and 2016, before the staff member joined the Birmingham Yardley MP’s team.

Israel compared to Isis

One message, addressing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu directly, appeared to liken Israel to terrorists in the Islamic State.

The aide drew a distinction between Jews, a “faith based on peace and love”, and Israel or Zionists.

Ms Phillips has been outspoken in her criticism of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in failing to tackle allegations of anti-Semitism with the party.

Jess Phillips has criticised Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of anti-Semitism (Photo: Tolga Akmen/Getty)

The leadership hopeful said she had a zero-tolerance approach toward anti-Semitism, pledging to always take action quickly and effectively.

‘Building bridges’ with Jewish community

Ms Phillips said in a statement: Yesterday evening I was shown some completely unacceptable messages posted by a member of my team prior to her employment with me.

I have been clear from the outset that we need a zero tolerance approach to anti-Semitism in the party and so the person involved was suspended with immediate effect.

I absolutely endorse all these pledges in full. We need to work hard to make the Labour Party a safe space once again for the Jewish community.

It is easy to call out and challenge our adversaries, it is far harder to do this when it is our friends and close colleagues.

I am really sad that I’ve had to take this action against a hard working and valued member of staff. But we can’t have one rule for those we don’t like and another for those we do.

She added: I pledge to always take action quickly and effectively, without fear or favour. This is the right thing to do and the only way to start building a bridge again with the Jewish community.

Ms Phillips said she could not comment further as a disciplinary process was under way.