Labour suspends Chesterfield Borough Council candidate over online post

Labour has suspended a candidate for next month's Chesterfield Borough Council elections over an online post.

Tuesday, 16th April 2019, 4:39 pm
Updated Tuesday, 16th April 2019, 5:09 pm
Labour has suspended a candidate for next month's Chesterfield Borough Council elections over an online post.

Paul Knaggs, who is listed as a Labour candidate for Chesterfield Borough Council elections on May 2, accused Jews and Muslims of seeking to 'dominate our politics' and 'undermine the working class struggle' in an online post made last year, according to The Times.

On Jews and Muslims, Mr Knaggs, 52, apparently wrote on his Labour Heartlands website: “I respect your freedom to have a religion and even practise it. But I do not respect the fact that you want your religion to dominate our politics or undermine the working class struggle.

"The attitude of most working class people is ‘leave your troubles behind’ . . . we all reserve the right to call out injustices in the world, but we also reserve the right not to let it dominate our political world.”

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Following the story by The Times, the former Army officer defended his post. He wrote on Facebook: "I admit my article wasn't well thought through or well written. It was a response last May to my dismay at more anti-Semitism and more Islamophobia entering into politics. I could have express myself different and in retrospect probably should have but in no way was I trying to be racist anti-Islamic or anti-Semitic."

The Derbyshire Times understands Mr Knaggs has been suspended from the Labour Party, pending an investigation.

Individuals who are suspended cannot stand as Labour Party candidates. If elected, he would sit as an independent councillor.

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. We can’t comment on individual cases.

“Individuals who are suspended from the party can’t stand as party candidates. Due to electoral laws, those who are suspended after the deadline can’t be removed from the register, but they are not party candidates."

The full list of election candidates can be viewed here