By Lachlan Leeming, Local Democracy Reporter
An investigation is set to take place after the leader of Greenwich council referred a fellow Labour councillor to the party’s national office over a series of tweets.
Council leader Danny Thorpe said on Thursday that he had flagged fellow councillor David Stanley’s social media activity after tweets emerged which showed Cllr Stanley seemingly expressing support for a far-left group and a controversial MP who was suspended after a party row over the handling of anti-Semitism complaints.
The tweets, which date as far back as 2018, include sharing a change.org petition from far-left group Labour Against the Witchhunt, which pushes for an end to what it perceives as politically motivated allegations of anti-Semitism in the party.
The petition, an open letter to former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, stated: “We are seriously worried about the current climate in the Labour Party, where any criticism of the actions of the state of Israel is now immediately conflated with anti-Semitism.
“What we are seeing is a cynical alliance between those who wish to deflect criticism of Israel and Zionism, and the right-wing in the Labour Party and the news media, who oppose your wider politics,” the letter read.
Cllr Stanley also retweeted posts with the hashtag #IStandWithChrisWilliamson, referring to former Labour MP Chris Williamson, who resigned from the party last year after being suspended for his comments about the party’s response to criticism over its handling of allegations of anti-Semitism within the party.
The series of tweets were compiled by a Twitter user named ‘@habibi_uk’.
Cllr Thorpe responded to the thread by thanking the Twitter user “for bringing this to my attention”.
“As a council, we are completely committed to fighting anti-Semitism. I have passed this information on to the national party,” he wrote.
When contacted for additional comment, Cllr Thorpe directed us to a Labour party spokesman, who declined to comment.
Cllr Stanley, who has represented the ward of Kidbrooke with Hornfair since 2014, said he had “no time” for anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and that he supported a “fair and rigorous” disciplinary process for those accused of making anti-Semitic comments.
He said: “I have always condemned anti-Semitism in the strongest possible terms, and fully supported Greenwich council signing up to the full IHRA definition.
“I have no time for anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, but recognise that criticism of the state of Israel can sometimes be wrongly conflated with anti-Semitism.
“I support a fair and rigorous procedure for those Labour members who are subject to disciplinary measures due to alleged anti-Semitic comments.”
Earlier this year, councillors from across parties came together at Greenwich to support an urgent motion condemning racism in the wake of a spate of anti-Semitic graffiti attacks around the borough.
And last year the authority voted in favour of adopting the internationally recognised International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism following an “alarming rise in anti-Semitic tropes”.
The referral on Wednesday came just hours before national Labour party leader Keir Starmer sacked shadow cabinet member Rebecca Long-Bailey from her post after she retweeted an interview which Sir Keir said contained an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.
Pictured top: Danny Thorpe, top right, and David Stanley, bottom left
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