Labour candidate compares celebrating Tony Blair's death to cheering Adolf Hitler's demise

Posted On: 
7th November 2019

A Labour election candidate has been criticised after she appeared to compare celebrating the death of Tony Blair to cheering Adolf Hitler's demise.

Jane Aitchison is Labour's candidate in Pudsey.
Credit: 
PA Images

Jane Aitchison made the bizarre comparison during an excruciating interview with Radio 5Live's Emma Barnett.

Ms Aitchison, who is standing for Labour in the Tory-held marginal of Pudsey, west Yorkshire, spoke out as she defended comments made by another of the party's election candidates, Zarah Sultana.

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She was forced to apologise after social media posts emerged in which she said she would celebrate the deaths of Mr Blair and Benjamin Netanyahu.

Asked about what Ms Sultanah had written, Ms Aitchison said: "People say things that are very, very passionate, and they say things that are wrong, but I don't think that what she's saying there is necessarily worse than looking down on the people of Grenfell who died in a fire which is what we've experienced."

That was a reference to comments by Jacob Rees-Mogg, in which he appeared to suggest that the Grenfell fire victims should have had the "common sense" to ignore fire brigade warnings and leave their homes when the blaze took hold.

Pressed on Ms Sultanah's remarks, Ms Aitchison paused for 12 seconds before saying: "I think I'd like to talk to her and see what she was really trying to say and if she is apologising, if she's apologising then, I think that would be okay.

"People do celebrate death sometimes. It's not good. Is it? Is it really good to celebrate that? It's not. But people do sometimes because they feel strongly about whatever that person represented."

Asked whether she was defending someone celebrating the death of the former Prime Minister, she said: "No, I'm not, what I'm saying is that people for instance, they celebrated the death of Hitler."

Reacting to the interview, Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweeted: "Right. I’m going to Pudsey to help stop this woman entering Parliament. Defending the idea of celebrating Tony Blair’s death. What has Labour come to? We MUST keep Corbyn out."

CANDIDATE QUITS

Meanwhile, another Labour candidate has quit after allegedly anti-semitic comments she had previously made came to light.

Kate Ramsden said she was standing down as Labour's candidate in Gordon, Aberdeenshire, for "personal reasons".

In a blog post, the Unison official had said that Israel was "like many abusers, unable to reflect on their own abuse, and ending up recreating it in the abuse of others, exerting their power in those weaker than themselves because once they were the powerless".

She also claimed that anti-semitism allegations against Labour members were "orchestrated by the wealthy establishment who do not want a socialist Labour government".