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Fife councillor “almost in tears” at community’s support over anti-Semitism row

Mary Lockhart.
Mary Lockhart.

A Fife councillor suspended from the Labour party in a row over anti-Semitism has received an outpouring of support from her own community.

Mary Lockhart said the hundreds of messages of encouragement sent in the wake of the controversy had had her on the brink of tears.

“I’m almost overwhelmed by the support that I have had from my own community and the people I represent, irrespective of party politics and irrespective of whether or not I may have been in breach of my party’s rules and protocols,” she said.

“Even though I have been a member of the Labour party for more than 40 years and am a full part of the Labour family, the people in my own community mean more to me than even the Labour party.

“To have their support has had me almost in tears.”

The Lochgelly, Cardenden and Benarty councillor was speaking publicly for the first time since a Facebook post last week questioning the motives of Jewish newspapers sparked allegations of anti-Semitism and an official complaint to Scottish Labour.

The UK’s three leading Jewish newspapers had posted a joint front page message warning a Corbyn-led government would pose an “existential threat to Jewish life in this country”.

In response, Ms Lockhart posted: “If it is a Mossad assisted campaign to prevent the election of a Labour Government pledged to recognise Palestine as a State, it is unacceptable interference in the democracy of Britain.”

She has since deleted the post.

She was suspended on Monday pending an investigation into whether her remarks breached the Labour party’s rules on anti-Semitism.

Ms Lockhart refused to criticise the party’s reaction to the furore, saying it had had no choice.

“The fact is the Labour party is behaving as it has to do in accordance with its rules,”she said.

“Any member of whom a serious complaint is made would have to be suspended, even if they weren’t a councillor, pending investigation.

“The investigation in this case, as I understand it, is into my one post.”

The internal inquiry is expected to take several weeks and could result in Ms Lockhart’s expulsion from the party.

A Labour party spokesperson said: “The Labour party takes all complaints of anti-Semitism extremely seriously and we are committed to challenging and campaigning against it in all its forms.

“All complaints about anti-Semitism are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken.”

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