Woking’s Labour Party caught in race storm

MPs have called for the expulsion of a former Parliamentary candidate who is currently Vice Chairman from Woking’s Labour Party.

The News & Mail’s 25 September 2014 edition reported how lifelong borough resident and mother of two,Vicki Kirby, was suspended less than a week after she’d been named the party’s hopeful for the 2015 General Election, following her tirade of racially abusive posts on  social media.

Among her many shockingly reprehensible remarks on Twitter, which hit the national headlines, she slammed Israel, calling it ‘evil’, suggesting Islamic State should attack Israel, and she’d teach her children to ‘hate’ the country. She also posted that Hitler may be the ‘Zionist God’.

Labour’s campaign for the Woking local elections collapsed after Ms Kirby was condemned across the political spectrum.

Nevertheless, not only is Ms Kirby still a member of the Woking Labour Party,  she has been elevated to the position of
Vice Chairman, which provoked a nationwide response when it emerged on Monday – as did further revelations about her social media activity, including a post mocking Jewish people for having ‘big noses’.

Woking’s Labour Party said: “Woking Labour has been in the media spotlight over the past few days as a result of allegations made against our vice chair Vicki Kirby.

“The matter has been discussed in the Labour Party at a national level and as a result the National Chair of the party, Ian McNicol, has suspended Ms Kirby pending a full investigation.

“At this point we feel as a local party it would be inappropriate to comment further as we do not wish to interfere with any ongoing investigation or prejudice the outcome.”

Embarrassed Labour MP Wes Streeting tweeted: “Sitting with MPs from across Europe discussing how to tackle anti-Semitism, I despair at the failure of my own party.”

Another Labour MP, John Woodcock, described Ms Kirby as ‘scum’, adding that it would be ‘absurd’ if she wasn’t kicked out of the party. Meanwhile, UKIP MEP James Carver said: “I’m horrified by the consistent blatantly racist and anti-Semitic bile that spews from her mouth, and call on the Labour Party to remove her membership.”

That evening, Mr Streeting discussed the racism row on LBC radio, pointing out that a number of Labour members have said they will  be leaving the party because of it.

The criticism of Ms Kirby follows concerns about other people with extremist views being allowed into the party under Jeremy Corbyn. Just a week ago, David Cameron criticised Labour at Prime Minister’s Questions for re-admitting far left activist Gerry Dowling, who’d been kicked out after criticism of his views on the 9/11 attacks and so-called Islamic State.

Anti-Semitism campaigner Alison Arellano told the News & Mail: “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and Jeremy Corbyn’s past and present associates, with whom he has shared a stage or re-admitted into the party, speaks volumes.

“If toppling Corbyn is a side-effect of cleaning up the Labour Party of anti-Semitism or any bigotry or racism, then so be it.”
Closer to home, Ms Kirby’s involvement in local politics has drawn a strong response from Conservatives in Woking.

Councillor Carl Thomson said: “The views expressed by Ms Kirby are appalling. For Labour to give a prominent role to someone who makes light of such issues shows a serious lack of judgement. I appreciate people have strong views about Israel, but this debate should never be used as a cover for racial hatred and anti-Semitic abuse.”

MP Jonathan Lord said: “Anti-Semitism is just as vile as any racism and all  other mainstream political parties need to ensure their members and officers maintain the appropriate standards of conduct and comment at all times.”

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