LESS than a week after being named Woking Labour Party’s representative for the 2015 General Election, the parliamentary candidate has been suspended from duty.
Vicki Kirby, a 34-year-old mother of two, launched a tirade of controversial remarks on the social media network Twitter. She slammed Israel, calling it ‘evil’, questioning ‘why the Islamic State [ISIS] hasn’t yet attacked it’, and saying she would make sure her kids knew ‘how evil Israel is’.
She also tweeted that Hitler might be the ‘Zionist God’.
A national Labour Party spokesman confirmed on Saturday: “Vicki Kirby has been suspended as a candidate from the Labour Party with immediate effect.”
Woking Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesman, Chris Took, welcomed the suspension of Kirby following her ‘grotesquely offensive comments’, but added that Labour must now go further.
He said: “The views expressed by Vicki Kirby are abhorrent. The Labour Party are right to suspend her and I would hope they expel her from the party in due course.
“This is a hateful diatribe on par with the worst extremists. I find it astounding that she was ever selected as a parliamentary candidate for a mainstream party.”
According to The Sunday Times, one of Kirby’s Tweets read: “Apparently you can ask IS/ISIS/ISIL questions on ask.fm. Anyone thought of asking them why they’re not attacking the real oppressors, #Israel?”
She is also reported to have tweeted: “We invented Israel when saving them from Hitler, who now seems to be their teacher”, while another read: “I will never forget and I will make sure my kids teach their children how evil Israel is!”
Kirby sparked a huge backlash on Twitter in condemnation of her comments.
She was on her way to a Labour conference in Manchester on Saturday when she received a call from the party telling her she was suspended.
Although what seems to be her own sabotage of what now looks set to be an extremely shortlived candidacy, it is usual practice for potential candidates to go through a strict vetting process by their party.
Conservative Councillor Carl Thomson said: “The Woking Labour Party need to answer questions about whether they were aware of these views when they selected their candidate and whether they stand by them.
“I think most people would find these Twitter statements inappropriate, regardless of their opinion about the conflict in the Middle East.
“At a time when Islamic State are beheading journalists and committing genocide against civilians, to make light of such atrocities or to wish them against people living in another country is extreme and offensive.”
The national Labour Party said there will be an investigation. Woking’s Lib Dem Leader, Will Forster, told the News & Mail: “I have seen the Tweets and I am appalled by them. They are not words someone from an established political party should use.
“Woking is a modern, multi-cultural and tolerant town, and does not want someone with such appalling views representing us. What I find worrying is that this appears to be an incitement for terrorist attacks against Israel.”
Local Labour party agent, Liz Evans, told the News & Mail: “Woking Labour Party will be responding shortly to the National Executive Committee’s decision to suspend our parliamentary candidate Vicki Kirby.”
Kirby’s rants might also have damaged hopes for the party who were elected their first seat on Woking Borough Council since 2004, when Mohammad Ilyas Raja gained the Maybury & Sheerwater ward in May.
Woking’s Liberal Democrat Leader, Will Forster, told the News & Mail: “I have seen the Tweets from Labour’s Vicki Kirby and I am appalled by them.
“They are not words that someone from an established UK political party should use. Woking is a modern, multi-cultural and tolerant town, and does not want someone with such appalling views representing us.”
Kirby had been one of the heavyweights behind the Sheerwater regeneration petition. A press statement and picture announcing her candidacy on September 16 read: “On September 11 Woking Constituency Labour Party selected their 2015 Parliamentary candidate by majority vote.
“Vicki Kirby is a lifelong resident of the borough, having lived in Sythwood, Byfleet and West Byfleet. She has tirelessly campaigned for disability, educational and affordable housing issues, and is passionate about social justice.
“She is looking forward to working to ensure Woking, with its diverse population and commuter belt status, leads the way in equality as well as environment. Vicki is dedicated to serving the people’s needs.”
Paul Blagbrough, Chairman of Labour’s Woking constituency said the branch would be meeting early this week ‘to discuss what we know and what we need to know’.
Woking MP Jonathan Lord said: “I feel sorry for Ms Kirby, but those who aspire to our national Parliament do need to have mature and constructive views on both national and international affairs.”