Kate Ramsden: Labour election candidate quits after likening Israel to a child abuser

Resignation comes as John McDonnell is criticised for claiming Labour has done all that has been asked to tackle its antisemitism problem

Rob Merrick
Deputy Political Editor
Thursday 07 November 2019 18:46 GMT
Former Labour MP Ian Austin urges people to vote for Boris Johnson rather than Jeremy Corbyn

A Labour general election candidate has quit after it emerged she likened the actions of the Israeli government to those of a child abuser.

Kate Ramsden stood down over a blog post in which she also reportedly alleged that antisemitism claims against Jeremy Corbyn were “orchestrated by the wealthy establishment”.

The candidate, for the Scottish constituency of Gordon, said she was resigning for “personal reasons” after being challenged by the party, Labour said.

The controversy blew up as John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, came under fire for claiming Labour had done all the Jewish community had asked for to tackle its antisemitism problem.

The Jewish Labour Movement said the reality was that it “had been shunned and our views ignored”, adding: “There are hundreds of outstanding cases yet to be resolved.”

“They have not instituted an independent education programme for members. New procedures make political interference in blocking discipline for anti-Jewish racists worse, not better.”

Ms Ramsden was thrust into the spotlight after The Jewish Chronicle reported that she wrote in the blog: “To me the Israeli state is like an abused child who becomes an abusive adult.”

The report said she added: “Like child abuse it has to stop... as we intervene with child abusers the international community needs to intervene with Israel.”

She also wrote of her opposition to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism, which was eventually implemented by the party after a long row.

The website claimed it had evidence that she had initially been allowed to stand provided she deleted the blog post, but this was strongly denied by Labour.

“We took immediate action to have Kate Ramsden’s candidacy reconsidered in light of the material that we found,” a party source said.

“Staff in Labour HQ found these posts when conducting extra due diligence checks. Staff immediately alerted Scottish Labour, who informed the Scottish Executive Committee, which decided to re-interview Kate Ramsden about the new posts that had been found.

“Kate Ramsden stood down as a candidate and is therefore not a Labour candidate in the election. The party took swift and robust action on this matter.”

Earlier, a former Labour stalwart, Ian Austin, urged people to vote for Boris Johnson instead of Jeremy Corbyn as he announced he was quitting parliament.

The former Labour minister said “decent traditional patriotic Labour voters” should vote Tory, after previously condemning a “culture of extremism, antisemitism and intolerance”.

But Mr McDonnell, on the campaign trail in Liverpool, insisted: “Everything that has been asked of us by the Jewish community we’ve done.

“We were asked to look at antisemitism in the party and we’ve done a detailed investigation. We’ve identified a small, a tiny number, of antisemitic activities and we’ve dealt with it.

“We were asked to ensure we had disciplinary procedures that were fast, and I was saying ruthless as well, and that’s what we’ve done. We’ve expelled people.”

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