Labour’s candidate in Rochdale “fell for an online conspiracy” that led to his remarks over the 7 October assaults in Israel, a shadow minister has mentioned.
Councillor Azhar Ali instructed a gathering of the Lancashire Labour Party within the wake of the atrocity that Israel intentionally allowed the bloodbath to go forward to present it the “green light” to invade Gaza.
After his feedback have been revealed over the weekend by the Mail On Sunday, he issued an “unreserved” apology, saying they have been “deeply offensive, ignorant, and false”.
He and the Labour Party have confronted fierce criticism on account of the remarks, however the councillor stays the celebration’s candidate for this month’s by-election, with the deadline to interchange him having lengthy handed.
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Asked about Mr Ali’s feedback, shadow minister with out portfolio, Nick Thomas-Symonds, instructed Sky News they have been “completely wrong… totally unacceptable and they in no way represent the views of the Labour Party”.
However, he claimed the councillor had fallen for an “online conspiracy theory and that does not represent his view”.
Mr Thomas-Symonds added: “What Councillor Ali also said here is that he apologises unreservedly, he retracts the comments.
“And he is additionally mentioned, which I feel is vastly essential, that he understands now the gravity, the dimensions, the offence that is been brought on and is aware of he must rebuild belief.
“[He has a] huge task ahead of him with the Jewish community and that is what I would now expect him to get on to do.”
The shadow minister additionally pointed to feedback made by Dame Louise Ellman, a former Labour MP who resigned from the celebration in 2019 over its dealing with of antisemitism complaints below Jeremy Corbyn – however later rejoined after Sir Keir Starmer took over.
She posted on X that Mr Ali’s feedback had repeated “outrageous and deeply offensive conspiracy theories” and it was “right that he has given a full apology”.
But, she added: “I have known Azhar for over twenty years and he consistently supported me when I was subjected to antisemitic attacks.
“I’ve all the time discovered him to be an ally, which makes these feedback out of character. He ought to now have the chance to work with the Jewish group to revive the lack of belief his actions have brought on.”
However, others in the Jewish community have branded Mr Ali’s remarks as “warped” and “disgraceful”, and concern they may additional gas hostility.
Mr Thomas-Symonds added: “People can get things very wrong. That’s obviously happened here, and Councillor Ali has to learn lessons from that.
“I feel that we additionally consider his response to this in current days. That is why he continues to be our candidate up there in Rochdale, we’ll proceed to marketing campaign up there in Rochdale.”
But Conservative Party chairman Richard Holden said: “Time after time, Sir Keir Starmer says that he is modified Labour. Time after time we’re seeing that merely is not true.
“While vile racist slurs are freely exchanged within Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Party, it is unfit to hold public office.”
Meanwhile, spokesman for Reform UK, Gawain Towler, mentioned: “I find it absolutely extraordinary that Labour frontbenchers are being sent out to work for this guy, knowing his comments, which are worse than anything people have been suspended for.
“The solely factor I can consider is they’re fearful of George Galloway so they’re attempting to out-extreme him. It is really surprising.”
A spokesman for the Workers Party of Britain said: “Mr Ali has described his personal phrases and views as ‘silly, ignorant, offensive and false’. Why ought to anybody vote for him then?
“Our election slogan is ‘For Gaza. For Rochdale’. We are unapologetically pro-Gaza, pro-Palestine. And it is that message which resonates across Rochdale: young and old, white and black.”
The Liberal Democrats have been approached for remark.
Mr Ali, a former authorities adviser who was made an OBE in 2020 for public service, was chosen final month to contest the ballot, brought on by the dying of Sir Tony Lloyd, and is defending a Labour majority of greater than 9,000.
See beneath the complete listing of candidates and the political events they symbolize:
Azhar Ali, Labour Party
Mark Coleman, Independent
Simon Danczuk, Reform UK
Iain Donaldson, Liberal Democrats
Paul Ellison, The Conservative Party Candidate
George Galloway, Workers Party of Britain
Michael Howarth, Independent
William Howarth, Independent
Guy Otten, Green Party
Ravin Subortna, The Official Monster Raving Loony Party
David Tully, Independent