Labour constituency chairman suspended over anti-semitism allegations
PUBLISHED: 06:00 05 June 2020 | UPDATED: 08:36 05 June 2020
A constituency Labour Party chairman has been suspended over allegations of anti-semitism.
Ray Mooney, chairman of the North Norfolk Labour Party (NNLP), has had his party membership suspended after an investigation was launched into his conduct on social media.
A letter, seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS), was sent to Mr Mooney on Tuesday, June 2, to inform him of the suspension and investigation.
Mr Mooney’s Facebook account appeared to share articles which referred to anti-semitic tropes, including the Rothschilds family, Labour politician Ken Livingstone and the political movement of Zionism, the letter from Labour’s legal and governance unit alleges.
Mr Mooney confirmed he had received the letter and would be responding to it in writing.
But his Facebook page states: “Please ignore any previous messages as my account hacked.”
However, it is not clear when the message was posted or what it refers to, and when asked, Mr Mooney declined to comment further.
The Labour Party letter claims he shared an article about the Labour MP and Jeremy Corbyn critic Dame Margaret Hodge comparing Labour’s investigation into her in 2018 to the “treatment of Jews in 1930s Germany” and said: “She is a Judas.”
He also allegedly shared a post from the national organisation Jewish Voice for Peace and compared them to the Nazi Party.
The letter claimed he said: “You are no better than the NAZIS [sic].
“Have you learned nothing or do you think the crimes of yesterday will allow you to repeat them now because of the Holocaust? You are so wrong!”
Mr Mooney also allegedly shared a news article about hospitals in Gaza by Al Jazeera with the claim: “Israel is trying to silence Corbyn.”
The Labour Party letter included screenshots of Mr Mooney’s account appearing to share the posts.
His suspension follows the Labour leader Keir Starmer’s apology to the Jewish community for the hurt caused by anti-semitism in the party and his pledge as newly-elected leader to “tear out this poison by its roots”.
The letter stated: “Allegations that you may have been involved in a breach of Labour Party rules have been brought to the attention of national officers of the party.”
It laid out draft charges of “prejudicial and/or grossly detrimental conduct” and alleged he had engaged in behaviours online which “may reasonably be seen to demonstrate hostility or prejudice based on race, religion or belief; may reasonably be seen to involve anti-semitic actions, stereotypes and sentiments; [and] undermine the Party’s ability to campaign against racism”.
Mr Mooney said he had not resigned as NNLP chairman and added: “I’ve been made aware of the letter and I’m responding to the party in writing.”
An emergency meeting is understood to be taking place tonight (Thursday, June 4) for the NNLP to discuss interim leadership.
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