Coventry – A Coventry Labour councillor has been suspended from the party after messages she sent using a racial slur were leaked to a national news outlet. Cllr Christine Thomas will carry out no duties while an investigation is ongoing, with Coventry Labour’s deputy leader saying the party “will not stand by any individual who sows the seeds of hate and division”.
Jewish News reported Cllr Thomas had used the term ‘Jewess’ while describing a Jewish activist. Cllr Thomas, who represents the Binley and Willenhall ward, apologised in a statement to Jewish News saying say did not realise the term was offensive.
Coventry Labour Leader George Duggins was also approached, and he responded to confirm Cllr Thomas had been suspended pending an enquiry.
Cllr Duggins said: “Christine suspended herself from the Labour Group whip on Friday evening (August 19) pending an enquiry.”
Speaking about the suspension on Twitter, Abdul Khan deputy leader of Coventry City Council said: “The Labour whip has been removed from the member. She will not be undertaking any roles on behalf of Coventry Labour Group.
“The matter is now with the national party who will decide if the member should be reinstated. We will not stand by any individual who sows the seeds of hate and division. We reject discrimination in all its forms.”
Gary Ridley, leader of Coventry Conservatives, said: “It was really shocking and I’m glad the Labour Party has removed the whip. I think it would send out a terrible message about antisemitism within the party if they didn’t.
“The Labour Party needs to act decisively to distance itself from this kind of well-documented allegations, they’ve shown an inability to deal with this kind of thing in the past. The worst thing about the comments made by Christine Thomas is she made them while trying to describe such allegations as a load of c***.
“I genuinely think if the Labour Party is going to move forward and be a party that can challenge for Government it needs to deal with anti-Semitism within the party. So I welcome this withdrawal of the whip as the first step.