Labour Rochdale candidate Azhar Ali ‘ditched after he hit out at Jews in media’

Labour ditched help for its Rochdale by-election candidate after studying he’d lashed out at “people in the media from certain Jewish quarters”, it’s claimed.

The occasion final evening confirmed it would not be backing Azhar Ali “following new information about further comments”. It got here shortly earlier than the Daily Mail launched a recording of remarks Mr Ali made, which additionally accused Israel of a “land grab”.

The candidate, who was chosen to face following the demise of Labour stalwart Sir Tony Lloyd, is known to be suspended pending an investigation. Labour initially stood by him after he apologised for claiming Israel let Hamas perform the October 7 assaults as a pretext for battle.

A brand new recording obtained by The Mail reveals Mr Ali saying Labour MP Andy McDonald “shouldn’t have been suspended” for utilizing the phrase “from the river to the sea”. He went on to inform a gathering of the Lancashire Labour Party: “The media – and some of the people in the media from certain Jewish quarters – were giving crap about what he said.”

He added that Israel deliberate to “get rid” of Palestinians from Gaza, describing it as a “land grab”. According to The Mail, he additionally boasted about stopping Israeli flags being flown from public buildings.

The resolution to droop him got here after intense stress which noticed Labour initially declare Mr Ali had been taken in by an “online conspiracy theory”. Labour’s nationwide marketing campaign coordinator Pat McFadden mentioned the occasion acted as a result of “new information and more comments have come to light which meant that we had to look at this situation again”.

In a press release the occasion mentioned: “Following new details about additional feedback made by Azhar Ali coming to mild immediately, the Labour Party has withdrawn its help for Azhar Ali as our candidate within the Rochdale by-election.

Keir Starmer has modified Labour in order that it’s unrecognisible from the occasion of 2019. We perceive that these are extremely uncommon circumstances however it’s important that any candidate put ahead by Labour absolutely represents its goals and values. Given that nominations have now closed Azhar Ali can’t be changed because the candidate.”

Mr Ali, a Lancashire County Councillor, apologised to the Jewish community and retracted his original remarks, which he described as “deeply offensive, ignorant and false”. Shadow minister Nick Thomas-Symonds said Mr Ali had fallen “for a web-based conspiracy principle” and insisted Labour would “proceed this marketing campaign in Rochdale”.

Frontbenchers Lisa Nandy and Anneliese Dodds had been out campaigning for Mr Ali in the constituency at the weekend. A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “Sir Keir Starmer has blotted an in any other case pretty admirable copybook and given the general public purpose to doubt the earnestness of his promise to tear antisemitism out ‘by its roots’ in Labour.

“People will have to judge for themselves whether the additional reported comments by Azhar Ali are really any worse than the comments that had already been reported. Rather than appearing as a principled decision, Labour’s withdrawal of support for its candidate at this late stage just looks as expedient as the failed attempt to defend him. It is the worst of all worlds for Labour.”

It has been seized on by the Tories, with Rishi Sunak telling GB News viewers on Monday at an occasion in County Durham, mentioned it was a “con” to counsel Labour has been reformed.

He mentioned: “Keir Starmer has been running around for the last year trying to tell everybody ‘Okay, Labour Party’s changed’. Well, look what just happened in Rochdale.” He accused Sir Keir of getting “stood by and sent cabinet ministers to support him, until literally five minutes before I walked on tonight, under enormous media pressure, has decided to change his mind on principle”.

If elected on February 29, Mr Ali will sit as an impartial MP and won’t obtain the occasion whip. The resolution implies that Labour may also must discover a new candidate to contest the seat on the upcoming basic election.

The Mirror has contacted Mr Ali for remark.