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South Thanet Labour Party candidate Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt, from Ramsgate, wins fight to be cleared over alleged antisemitism row on Twitter

By Matt Leclere

An aspiring Labour MP whose candidacy was turned down after claims she brought the party into disrepute has been cleared by the organisations's top disciplinary board.

Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt, from Ramsgate, was rejected by Labour's National Executive Committee last year and is now bidding for the party's top brass to reconsider after she was exonerated this week following an investigation.

The party's National Constitutional Committee (NCC) cleared Dr Gordon-Nesbitt yesterday after she posted on Twitter appearing to defend a colleague accused of antisemitism, sparking claims she was supporting anti-Jewish feelings.

Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt (6111778)
Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt (6111778)

She is now seeking reselection as the Labour candidate for South Thanet saying reasons behind the committee deciding not to endorse her "seem to have evaporated".

Dr Gordon-Nesbitt, who has always denied she is antisemitic, told KentOnline: "I feel very relieved that the NCC considered the evidence carefully and reached a fair decision.

"For nearly a year, I've been living with the suggestion that I might have done something that could prove detrimental to the Labour Party.

"My supporters and I know I would never do such a thing, quite the opposite.

"I've been working hard to improve our electoral prospects in Thanet. It's a great weight off my shoulders to be acquitted of all charges."

An investigation was launched just two weeks after Dr Gordon-Nesbitt was selected to stand in South Thanet relating to three tweets she wrote from the Centre for Cultural Change account - a think-tank she contributed before being selected as a candidate - in September 2017.

They appeared to defend Jackie Walker, a fellow former South Thanet Labour member and ex vice-chairman, who was accused of antisemitism.

One of the tweets said: “Accusations of antisemitism levelled at Jackie Walker are politically motivated”, while another read: “Anti-semitism has been weaponised by those who seek to silence anti-Zionist voices. See The Lynching, endorsed by Ken Loach, for elucidation.”

Dr Gordon-Nesbitt defended the posts saying they had not "intended to imply that antisemitism doesn’t exist in the Labour party" before issuing an apology.

Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt was cleared of charges for bringing the Labour Party into disrepute
Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt was cleared of charges for bringing the Labour Party into disrepute

She said at the time Westminster blog Guido Fawkes had taken the comments "out of context" and implied she was antisemitic.

Speaking this week, Dr Gordon-Nesbitt added: "Now that my name has been cleared through the disciplinary process, the next step will be to approach the National Executive Committee which refused my endorsement as parliamentary candidate and see if they will reconsider."

In January, Dr Gordon-Nesbitt launched a fundraising appeal to help her fight to be reinstated and threatened to take the Labour Party to court.

The Labour Party has been plagued with allegations over antisemitism which leader Jeremy Corbyn has repeatedly denied.

But campaign group Labour Against Antisemitism says the decision to clear Dr Gordon-Nesbitt "makes a mockery of Jeremy Corbyn’s claim that the party operates a zero tolerance policy towards antisemitism".

The group, which describes itself as working to make Labour "as safe place for Jewish people by eradicating antisemitic abuse within the party", is also calling for an investigation into the party.

Denny Taylor, spokesman for Labour Against Antisemitism, said: "Should Ms Gordon-Nesbitt now be confirmed as Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for South Thanet it will seem to send a further message: that the Labour Party is deaf to the concerns of the Jewish community and incapable of tackling antisemitism.

"We urge the Equalities and Human Rights Commission to launch a full investigation into the party without delay."

Read more: Thanet news and headlines here

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