Labour urged to suspend candidate who shared message questioning Nick Robinson's Jewish heritage

Posted On: 
9th December 2019

A Scottish Labour candidate has come under fire after she shared a message suggesting Nick Robinson was biased due to his Jewish heritage.

Three Scottish Labour candidates have already been forced to step down over anti-semitism
Credit: 
PA

The party is under pressure to dump West Dunbartonshire candidate Jean Anne Mitchell for sharing the "clearly anti-semitic" message about the senior BBC journalist.

Ms Mitchell sent the message to a WhatsApp group with other Labour candidates, which claimed Mr Robinson had "gone easy" on Boris Johnson while chairing a head-to-head debate with Jeremy Corbyn on Friday night.

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It said: "We watched the BBC Leadership Debate chaired by Nick Robinson. Throughout the debate we felt that Robinson gave Johnson an easy time, allowing him to avoid answering the audience's questions and instead giving him free reign to attack Corbyn. We thought he was biased. And then we Googled him."

It added: "His mother was born in Shanghai, where her German-Jewish parents fled during the 1930s.

"That makes him Jewish".

The message, which Ms Mitchell forwarded into the group, also highlighted the senior journalist's involvement with the Young Conservatives before he began working in the media.

The Labour candidate added: "Above message from my friends in London!"

Mr Robinson, whose grandparents fled Nazi persecution in the 1930s, has previously described himself as a "Jew by birth" but is "now an agnostic".

A spokesperson for the Scottish Conservatives, said: "This message is utterly inappropriate and clearly anti-semitic. Labour should remove its support for her candidacy."

But speaking to the Daily Record, Ms Mitchell denied she was anti-semitic and claimed she had not read the message properly.

"I’ve got so many Jewish friends and I would never, ever, ever to do anything that was in any way anti-semitic," she told the paper.

"I did not read that message properly. I was tired, I had been out campaigning all day. I came in, I sat down, I watched the debate, I came in and I shared that with the group because it was to do with the programme.

"I am really, really troubled that someone in a candidate group has actually let that be shared outwith the group. That is really pretty alarming."

Her comments come after Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said he was worried the party's record on tackling anti-semitism could cost them the election.

Three Scottish Labour candidates have already either had to stand aside or been kicked out over anti-Jewish racism.

The party were forced to dump Caithness candidate Bill Curran for expressing his support for former MP Chris Williamson, who claimed the party had been "too apologetic" in its response to anti-semitism, while Falkirk hopeful Safia Ali was also kicked out for making anti-semitic social media posts.

Meanwhile, the party's candidate in Gordon, Kate Ramsden, decided to quit following a row over posts she had made on Facebook which compared Israel to an abused child who becomes an abusive adult.

The Labour Party have been approached for comment.