Labour’s Rochdale by-election candidate apologises for ‘offensive’ Israel claims

A Labour by-election candidate has apologised for suggesting Israel allowed its residents to be killed to present it the inexperienced mild to invade Gaza.

Azhar Ali, who’s standing for the celebration in Rochdale, mentioned his remarks have been “deeply offensive, ignorant and false” – and he would urgently apologise to Jewish leaders. He stays Labour’s candidate for the Rochdale by-election on February 29.

The feedback have been made at a gathering of the Lancashire Labour Party quickly after the October 7 assaults, in keeping with a recording obtained by the Mail on Sunday. Mr Ali reportedly instructed the assembly: ‘The Egyptians are saying that they warned Israel ten days earlier… Americans warned them a day earlier than [that] there’s one thing occurring… They intentionally took the safety off, they allowed… that bloodbath that provides them the inexperienced mild to do no matter they bloody need.’

Mr Ali additionally mentioned Keir Starmer had “lost the confidence” Labour MPs over the celebration’s preliminary reluctance to again a ceasefire, in accordance the paper. It comes after Shadow Justice Secretary Shabana Mahmood, the celebration’s most senior Muslim MP, instructed the BBC there had been “a loss of trust, and I think that that needs to be rebuilt”.

In a press release, Mr Ali mentioned: “I apologise unreservedly to the Jewish community for my comments which were deeply offensive, ignorant, and false. Hamas’ horrific terror attack was the responsibility of Hamas alone, and they are still holding hostages who must be released.

“October 7th was the greatest loss of Jewish life in a single day since the Holocaust, and Jews in the UK and across the world are living in fear of rising antisemitism. I will urgently apologise to Jewish leaders for my inexcusable comments. The Labour Party has changed unrecognisably under Keir Starmer‘s leadership, he has my full support in delivering the change Britain needs.”

Labour’s Pat McFadden confirmed that Mr Ali was nonetheless Labour’s candidate for the Rochdale by-election. “His feedback have been utterly incorrect,” he told Sky News. “I hope he learns a very good lesson from it as a result of he ought to by no means have mentioned one thing like that.”

But the Board of Deputies of British Jews said in a statement: “These feedback are disgraceful and unforgivable. Were it not too late to take action, we might have known as on Labour to exchange Mr Ali as a candidate.

“It is clear to us that Mr Ali is not apologising out of a genuine sense of remorse. Despite what he says in his apology, we do not see how we could possibly engage with him at this time and we believe other leading Jewish communal groups will feel similarly.”

Mr Ali was chosen final month to defend Labour’s 9,668 majority in Rochdale, following the loss of life of veteran MP Sir Tony Lloyd. He is the chief of the Labour group on Lancashire County Council.