Labour reinstates MP after investigation into Holocaust Memorial Day comments

Labour has reinstated the whip to MP Kate Osamor following an investigation into her comments about Gaza on Holocaust Memorial Day. 

The Edmonton MP was suspended from the parliamentary party in January over the message she sent on the eve of the day marking the murder of six million Jewish people during the Second World War.

Politics Live: Starmer criticised for welcoming 'one of most right-wing MPs'

Ms Osamor said to her party members that Holocaust Memorial Day should be observed, but other genocides should also be remembered - and listed the war in Gaza as one of them.

A Labour Party spokesperson said: "The Chief Whip has today restored the Labour whip to Kate Osamor MP.

"This follows a full investigation by the Labour Party into complaints received about a social media post she made in January."

Ms Osamor, a shadow development secretary under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, said she was "grateful to the Labour Party for their investigation into my conduct and I accept the outcome in full".

She added: "I want to unreservedly apologise again for my comments. I made remarks which were insensitive, inappropriate, and which I apologise for and regret.

"I will continue to reach out to Jewish stakeholders and the community. I am committed to ensuring that I don't fall short of the highest standards.

"I look forward to continuing to represent my constituents of Edmonton in Westminster as a Labour MP."

Ms Osamor apologised over her comments at the time - but this was branded "utterly hollow" by The Board of Deputies of British Jews, who said that the "industrialised mass murder of six million Jews is in no way comparable to Israel's efforts to uproot Hamas from Gaza".

'Jury still out'

Responding to her having the whip restored, the group said: "Many in the Jewish community will be understandably reluctant to welcome the news of Labour's readmission of Kate Osamor, unless they see evidence to show that her apology is a sincere one.

"If Ms Osamor's remorse is genuine, she will now seek to work with mainstream Jewish groups, as well as key Holocaust charities, to understand why what she said was profoundly offensive to so many of us."

The Jewish Labour movement echoed that sentiment, saying her "original actions and non-apology were disgraceful and smeared the memory of all those who died in the Holocaust and subsequent genocides".

They added: "It is right that, as we understand, she has received a formal written warning from the Labour Party.

"The onus is now on her to engage with her local Jewish community in Enfield and the wider community, properly. Given her previous record and comments in this area, this will require a sincere and honest approach. Until and unless this happens, the jury is still out."

The news comes amid the furore over the defection of former Tory MP Natalie Elphicke to Labour - with Sir Keir Starmer accused of a "lurch to the right".

Read More:
Tory MP Natalie Elphicke defects to Labour Party
Diane Abbott has Labour whip suspended after 'hateful antisemitic' remarks

Last month the party restored the whip to Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald, who was suspended in October after using the phrase "between the river and the sea" in a speech at a pro-Palestinian demonstration.

Mr McDonald said it had not been his intention to use language that would cause distress and that he "bitterly regret(ted)" the "pain and hurt caused".

Former Labour MPs Diane Abbott and Jeremy Corbyn remain suspended over comments relating to antisemitism.

Left-wing campaign group Momentum said it was "good" to see Ms Osamor's case "resolved with relative speed" but it "only highlights the outrage that is the Labour Leadership's disgraceful mistreatment of Diane Abbott, who has now been suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party for over a year".