ANTI-SEMITISM ROW: Hasland councillor ‘has brought Chesterfield into disrepute and should resign’

Councillor Andy Slack. Picture: Chesterfield Borough Council.
Councillor Andy Slack. Picture: Chesterfield Borough Council.

A Hasland councillor who says he ‘unintentionally’ shared an anti-semitic post on his personal Facebook page has brought Chesterfield into disrepute and should resign immediately, according to a campaigner.

Andy Slack, who represents the ward on Chesterfield Borough Council, has apologised for sharing the internet meme claiming ‘Israel was created by the Rothschilds, not God’. It also featured a picture of a hook-nosed IDF soldier with a bloody mouth.

Mr Slack has been suspended by the Chesterfield Labour Group pending further enquiries and Chesterfield Borough Council has launched an investigation into his conduct.

Hasland resident and Liberal Democrat campaigner Andrew Hollyer said: “Posting this sort of clearly anti-Semitic post is unacceptable in modern Britain – and brings Hasland and the whole town of Chesterfield into disrepute.

“Coun Slack’s excuse that he did not look at the post before sharing is not convincing. The whole post only contains 42 words and the picture of the IDF soldier could not be any more clearly and immediately obviously offensive.

“For the sake of the public’s confidence in their elected representatives, Coun Slack should resign immediately.”

We asked Coun Slack if he would like to comment this morning but have not yet heard back from him.

Yesterday, he said: “I wish to apologise for an offensive post which I shared for a short time without properly reading the content, especially anyone of the Jewish faith.

“I also apologise to my Labour Party colleagues and point out that it had no connection with any organisation which I am a member.

“I support Palestinians in occupied Gaza but am in no way opposed to Jewish people.”

He added: “I removed the post after a few hours about three weeks ago when someone pointed out what I had unintentionally posted.”

A Chesterfield Labour Group spokesman added: “The leader, deputy leader and chief whip have interviewed Coun Slack immediately after being alerted to his Facebook post, dated September 30.

“Following the interview and Coun Slack’s apology which has now been posted and made available to the press, we have immediately suspended Coun Slack from the group pending further enquiries.

“Our actions have been reported to the East Midlands Regional Labour Party office and their actions continue.”

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins described the situation as ‘very distressing’.

He added: “I entirely support the actions of Chesterfield Labour Group.

“There is no place for racism in our town or party.”

Huw Bowen, Chesterfield Borough Council’s chief executive, said: “We were not aware of the post which was shared by Coun Slack on his personal Facebook page.

“Chesterfield Borough Council has a strong commitment to equalities and diversity and takes very seriously the matter that has been brought to our attention today.

“An investigation into Coun Slack’s conduct will begin immediately.”

Barry Lewis, Derbyshire County Council Conservative Group leader, added: “This is a deplorable thing to post and I am glad he has been suspended.

“Anti-semitism needs stamping out wherever it occurs and I am afraid it is too often taking place in the Labour Party.

“What happens next to Coun Slack will shed a light on how serious Labour are about fighting it.”