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Labour's Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt rejected as parliamentary candidate for South Thanet

By Katie Davis

An aspiring MP has been rejected as a parliamentary candidate for Labour in connection with a series of tweets which "brought the party into disrepute".

Dr Rebecca Gordon-Nesbitt was selected to run for the South Thanet seat in next year's election, but has now not been endorsed by the Labour's national executive committee (NEC).

The decision from the NEC came based on three tweets which were posted from the Centre for Cultural Change's Twitter, an account Dr Gordon-Nesbitt contributed to before she decided to stand as a candidate.

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

The tweets sent from the think-tank account back in September 2017 defended suspended member Jackie Walker during anti-Semitism allegations.

One 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 has since posted the tweets in question on Facebook, insisting the they were "in no way intended to imply that antisemitism doesn’t exist in the Labour party."

She wrote: "Questions have been raised about which tweets caused my endorsement to be withheld by a three-member panel of the NEC), so I'm posting them below.

"Jackie Walker is a suspended member of South Thanet Labour party who staged an autobiographical play in London last September, after which Ken Loach participated in a question and answer session to expose the political campaign ranged against her."

Dr Gordon-Nesbitt announced news of her rejection "with a heavy heart", pointing the finger of blame towards political blog Guido Fawkes which she says took the tweets out of context.

She said: "The Centre for Cultural Change tweets were in no way intended to imply that antisemitism doesn’t exist in the Labour party.

"They were taken out of context on the right-wing Guido Fawkes hate blog to imply that I was antisemitic.

"It is possible for two things to be true at once – for antisemitism to exist and for accusations of antisemitism to be used as a political weapon."

Yesterday, Dr Gordon-Nesbitt met with the NEC panel "armed with a dozen endorsements".

She added: "Despite all of these endorsements and the fact that I had notified the party and worked with staff to issue a public apology as soon as the tweets first came to light, the NEC decided not to endorse me on the basis that I’d brought the party into disrepute.

"The tweets were in no way intended to imply that antisemitism doesn’t exist in the Labour party..." Dr Gordon-Nesbitt

"This overturns the democratic decision that local members made in April, and it deprives us of the right to appeal."

Dr Gordon-Nesbitt says she will spend the coming weeks considering her options.

"The past eight months have been the very best and the very worst of my life," she added.

"The very best because I’ve had the chance to work alongside you, our dedicated members and to meet some of the fantastic people working to make our community a better place.

"The very worst because I’ve been the target of vicious attacks from the Tories, the National Front and members of our own party. .
"I’d like to thank all of you who supported the parliamentary team and worked alongside us to bring the Labour message of hope to one of the most deprived communities in the country. I want you to know that I gave everything I have, both personally and financially, to win this seat for Labour.

"I’d like to find a way of shedding some light on the people who seek to prevent us making the changes that our country so badly needs."

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