Labour’s Croydon Central branch has lifted a suspension of its secretary imposed after a controversial tweet.
David White, a retired solicitor, was suspended on Tuesday (May 10) after he took to Twitter to defend former London Mayor Ken Livingstone’s claims that Adolf Hitler was a Zionist, which White claimed were “largely accurate”.
White tweeted: “Croydon Central Labour EC [Executive Committee] has unanimously agreed to ask Labour Party HQ to lift my suspension. Delighted with this news.”
John Stolliday, head of the constitutional unit at the national Labour party, wrote to Mr White to inform him of his suspension on May 4.
In a letter announcing the suspension, he said: “Because of the nature of the allegations received and concerns that your presence at branch meetings may be detrimental to the party, while subject to this administrative suspension, you cannot attend any party meetings including your own branch meeting and annual conference.
“You cannot seek office within the party or be considered for selection as a candidate to represent the Labour party at an election at any level.”
In a statement following his suspension White, who has been a member of the Labour party for 46 years, said: “Immediately after I sent the tweet I realised that it was unwise, whatever the historical facts, to conflate Zionism with Hitler.
“The Labour Party should review its internal procedures… It isn’t right that people should be suspended before they have had any chance to put their case or answer accusations. I gather that there are a substantial number of people up and down the country who have been suspended as I have.”
He also said: “Anti-Semitism is a terrible thing and should be forcefully opposed. I have a long history of opposing anti-Semitism and other forms of racism, dating back more than 50 years. However, I am very concerned about the current febrile atmosphere in which almost any comment criticising the actions of the Israeli government, or any comment about the history of Zionism, is liable to lead to accusations of anti-Semitism.”
A decision is expected to be made on the issue in the following weeks.