Rochdale candidate finally dropped.

Opposing Anti-Semitism and all forms of racism is too important to be used as a party-political or factional weapon.

When I was proposing the motion that Cumbria County council adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of Anti-Semitism, both I and my seconder bent over backwards to avoid doing so in a partisan or point-scoring way. I made the point then, and repeat it now, that no party is completely free of either Anti-Semitism or other forms of racism and no party can afford to be complacent about Anti-Semitism or any other form of racism.

It is a responsibility for all of us to refuse to accept, and take appropriate and proportionate action against, racism and Anti-Semitism when it comes from our allies as well as our opponents.

It will not have escaped any reader of this blog that I am not an admirer of Sir Keir Starmer but up until this week one of the few things I admired about the leader of the opposition had been his stand against Anti-Semitism in his own party.

However, the fact that the leader of the opposition had to be dragged kicking and screaming into withdrawing support from Azhar Ali, who had been Labour candidate in the Rochdale by election, when it came out that he had been peddling dire conspiracy theories about the October 7th massacre, is not a good look. That's not just my view. Labour MP Rosie Duffield said the party should have withdrawn its support for Mr Ali sooner. She told GB News: 'I think the dithering was quite embarrassing'

  • Does anyone seriously doubt for a moment that if that candidate had been a Corbynista or left-wing critic of Sir Keir, instead of an ally of the Starmer faction, they would have dropped the guillotine on him immediately?
  • Or that if a Conservative candidate had been stupid enough to say the same things Azhar Ali said, Labour would have been demanding that CCHQ drop the candidate concerned instantly? (And they would have been right to do so.)
For an account of what was actually said, the Daily Mail say they had obtained a tape of the comments and you can read their report on the issue at


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