Jess Phillips suspends aide over ‘unacceptable’ tweets

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Labour leadership challenger Jess Phillips has suspended her office manager over “completely unacceptable” tweets, as she stressed the need for zero tolerance of antisemitism.

The prominent frontbencher, who is vying to succeed Jeremy Corbyn in the top job, spoke of her sadness at having to take action, but insisted it was “the right thing to do and the only way to start building a bridge again with the Jewish community”.

Ms Phillips’ decision came after The Mail on Sunday uncovered messages posted by her key constituency office aide in which she branded Israel a “murderer” that was “inflicting Holocaust conditions on Palestinians”.

In another tweet, the member of staff appeared to liken Israel to the Islamic State terror group.

The messages were posted between 2014 and 2016 before she worked for Ms Phillips.

It will be an embarrassment for the Birmingham Yardley MP, who has been outspoken in her criticism of Mr Corbyn for failing to tackle antisemitism in the party and has vowed to root out the problem in its ranks.

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

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“I have been clear from the outset that we need a zero tolerance approach to antisemitism in the party – and so the person involved was suspended with immediate effect.”

She added: “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.

“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.”

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‘We weren’t good enough’: Long-Bailey on antisemitism

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

She and other leadership contenders have backed pledges on tackling antisemitism that the Board of Deputies of British Jews has called on all candidates to adopt.

“We need to work hard to make the Labour Party a safe space once again for the Jewish community,” said Ms Phillips.

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Leadership rival Rebecca Long-Bailey has also stressed the need to “very hard and very robustly” tackle antisemitism in the party.

Speaking to Sky News, the shadow business secretary revealed her unhappiness at how the problem had been handled.

Jess Phillips suspends aide over ‘completely unacceptable’ tweets

Labour leadership challenger Jess Phillips has suspended her office manager over “completely unacceptable” tweets, as she stressed the need for zero tolerance of antisemitism. The prominent frontbencher, who is vying to succeed Jeremy Corbyn in the top job, spoke of her sadness at having to take action, but insisted it was “the right thing to do and the only way to start building a bridge again with the Jewish community”.

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