Graham Jones, the former Labour MP and parliamentary candidate for Hyndburn, allegedly referred to ‘f***ing Israel’ in a meeting with party activists in Lancashire
Labour has suspended a second election candidate in just 24 hours after he allegedly referred to “f***ing Israel ” in a meeting with party activists.
The former MP and parliamentary candidate for Hyndburn Graham Jones also said Brits who fight for Israel should be “locked up”, according to a leaked recording. It is understood Mr Jones was called in for an interview on Tuesday evening as Labour investigates the comments from a meeting of activists in Lancashire.
According to the recording published by Guido Fawkes on Tuesday, Mr Jones was asked why there were British people in the “IDF” – the Israel Defence Forces.
Mr Jones replied: “This has been raised and I’m going to take this up. We have a simple rule in this country. Unless there is a military alliance between us and that particular country – NATO or individual one – you should not be fighting. No British person should be fighting for any other country, at all, full stop. It’s against the law and you should be locked up”.
The comments were allegedly made at the same meeting that led to the withdrawal of support for Rochdale by-election candidate, Azhar Ali. Mr Ali had apologised after a leaked recording suggesting that Israel had taken the October 7 Hamas assault as a pretext to invade Gaza.
Despite first standing by Mr Ali amid intense criticism, the party then ditched him on Monday evening “following new information about further comments”. It came shortly before the Daily Mail released a recording of remarks Mr Ali made where he lashed out at “people in the media from certain Jewish quarters”.
Today, Keir Starmer insisted he had made the “tough decision” to ditch the Rochdale candidate. The Labour leader said: “I took decisive action. It is a huge thing to withdraw support for a Labour candidate during the course of a by-election, it’s a tough decision but a necessary decision.”
Asked if others who were present at the October meeting where Mr Ali made the remarks could face action, he said a “full investigation” would take place. Pressed on who he would recommend voters in Rochdale support in the upcoming by-election he said: “Voters in Rochdale will have to determine who they vote for but I’m not prepared to put forward a Labour candidate unless I think that candidate is fit to be a Labour MP
The Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) said they were “pleased that Labour has swiftly suspended Jones, pending further action”. Before his suspension, the organisation said the ex-MP’s comments were “appalling and unacceptable”. They added: “We are dismayed that Jones was not only a bystander at the meeting where Azhar Ali made his antisemitic comments, but sought to inflame tensions further.”