Lib Dems drop mayoral candidate in ‘anti-semitism scandal’

Geeta Sidhu-Robb, Liberal Democrat candidate suspended over ‘anti-semitism’

The Liberal Democrats, struggling to hold on to their status as the UK’s third largest political party, have run into a storm over ‘anti-semitism’ as they attempt to select a candidate for next May’s London mayoral election to take on Labour’s Sadiq Khan, arguably the most powerful Muslim politician in the Western world.

London Lib Dem members were set to choose between two potential candidates in a postal ballot this month, but one of those candidates has today been suspended after discovery of a video from more than twenty years ago where she made an ‘anti-semitic’ attack on senior Labour politician Jack Straw.

Straw is an Anglican Christian of partly Jewish ancestry, who served in several prominent roles under Labour Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, most famously as Foreign Secretary during the Iraq war.

At the 1997 general election Geeta Sidhu-Robb was the Conservative candidate against Straw in his Blackburn constituency. Malawi-born Ms Sidhu-Robb tried to stir up Pakistani voters in Blackburn’s Asian ghetto, telling them via megaphone: “Don’t vote for a Jew, Jack Straw is a Jew. If you vote for him, you’re voting for a Jew. Jews are the enemies of Muslims.”

As a committed Europhile, former corporate lawyer Sidhu-Robb later defected from the Tories to the anti-Brexit Lib Dems, and ended up on the shortlist to become London mayoral candidate, until her ‘anti-semitic’ record was discovered this week.

Watch Tory candidate (now Lib Dem) Geeta Sidhu-Robb making an ‘anti-semitic’ attack on Labour’s Jack Straw. (The relevant section of the video begins after a few seconds.)

What surprises H&D is that alarm bells hadn’t rung sooner among the Lib Dem leadership. It was reasonably well known during the Straw years that several Blackburn Tories encouraged antisemitic anti-Labour campaigns in Asian areas of Blackburn, and Ms Sidhu-Robb’s remarks were actually broadcast in a Channel 5 documentary more than 20 years ago!

Perhaps the Lib Dems were so pleased to tick three political boxes with Ms Sidhu-Robb – ex-Tory defector, non-White, and female – that they didn’t engage their brains. Moreover some concerned activists, including former mayoral candidate Siobhan Benita, have alleged that Ms Sidhu-Robb was being courted by the party because of her wealthy connections and her role in the anti-Brexit pressure group Open Britain and its new campaign ‘Democracy Unleashed’, formerly known as the ‘People’s Vote’ campaign.

Today Ms Sidhu-Robb issued a grovelling apology in an effort to save her rapidly sinking political career:
“I am deeply ashamed of the ignorant and abusive language I used on one occasion in the 1997 General Election campaign. As shown in the footage, I instantly regretted my appalling behaviour, which I continue to do.
“Those words are entirely inconsistent with my views and values, and though there are no excuses for my actions, there is some context; that is, that I was under a great deal of strain and retaliated to the racial abuse I was receiving in Blackburn ‘like for like’.”

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