Victory for common sense!
Jackie Walker, Vice-Chair of Momentum and leading Labour Party activist has been cleared of anti-Semitism by the Labour Party, and her suspension has been lifted with immediate effect.
Jackie was suspended by the Labour Party on 4 May 2016, on allegations that she had posted so-called 'anti-Semitic' comments on social media. She vigorously denied the allegations and was robustly defended by the high-profile Human Rights solicitor, Martin Howe, who previously represented the British Army Gurkhas in their campaign for settlement rights in the UK. Following a full investigation by the Labour Party, Jackie has now been cleared of all allegations and the Party has wished her well in her future campaigning and party activities. Her solicitor, Martin Howe, said:
'The complaints against Ms Walker were potentially serious but they related to matters which go to the heart of free speech and political free speech. She is not a racist, and having strongly held views on the conflict in the Middle East and historical matters of a factual nature is not anti-Semitism. The danger with cases like this is that genuine debate and free speech has been silenced by the chilling effect of unfair and inaccurate allegations of anti-Semitism against a person who has fought against racism, in all forms, all her life. The effect on Ms Walker has been untold and she has suffered vilification in the press, online and in the street. I am glad I supported her and helped vindicate her fundamental rights of free speech.'
Jackie Walker said:
'These last few weeks have been a living nightmare. In the street, people have come up to me and shouted 'racist' and my own family in Israel, America and the UK have shunned me because unknown persons have wrongly accused me of anti-Semitism. I am glad this investigation has fully cleared me of any wrong doing. I am not a racist, but I robustly defend my right and the right of others to speak openly and frankly about matters of grave political and historical importance. That is the cornerstone of the right of free speech in our democracy. I have no doubt that my suspension was provoked by elements in the right-wing press and others opposed to the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn in order to seek to damage his leadership and paint the Labour Party as 'anti-Semitic', which it is not. Like Jeremy Corbyn, I abhor all forms of racism but to allege racism where none exists denigrates those who struggle against injustice, discrimination and racism on a daily basis. What I have suffered and the effect this episode has had on my health and, also, on my family can only be described as the lowest form of 'attack politics'. I thank my solicitor, Martin Howe, for stepping in to help and defend me and uphold the right of free speech and political debate within the Labour Party.'
Listen to Jackie on Radio 4 (the interview is one hour and 22 minutes in).
A senior Labour activist, Jackie Walker, who was suspended from the party over alleged anti-Semitic comments on Facebook, has been reinstated. She joins us on the programme at 7.25