What was said at Labour Meeting that Derailed Rochdale Hopes

What was said at Labour Meeting that Derailed Rochdale Hopes?

Rochdale – Labour’s Rochdale by-election hopes were thrown into turmoil over candidate Azhar Ali’s ‘deeply offensive’ Israel comments at a 2021 party meeting.

Ali apologised but Labour initially stood by him – until withdrawing support Monday night after ‘new information’.

A recording published Tuesday allegedly captures Ali’s remarks at a Lancashire Labour gathering about the Gaza conflict.

The meeting reportedly followed MP Andy McDonald’s suspension for a pro-Palestine speech. Ali criticised McDonald’s suspension by “people in the media from certain Jewish quarters”.

He also claimed he stopped Israeli flags being flown on Lancashire buildings during the Gaza war.

Ali is heard saying Israel allowed a “massacre” of 1,200 by Hamas to justify invading Gaza, a false claim he has apologised for.

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Conflicting reports exist over the nature of the meeting, but one source called it for local members only.

It was reportedly held in Hyndburn days after McDonald’s suspension on 28 October.

The Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester welcomed Labour withdrawing support once Ali’s “further antisemitic comments came to light”.

Labour said Ali could not be replaced as nominations have closed. It claimed Keir Starmer has made Labour “unrecognisable” from 2019.

The party was asked to clarify details of the meeting where the remarks occurred.

Ali will still appear on ballot papers when voters go to polls on 23 February.

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