Candidate cut from Labour shortlist

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A Labour politician was removed from a shortlist of potential parliamentary candidates for Hastings after criticism over controversial posts on social media.

Hastings and Rye Labour Party confirmed barrister Michelle Harris was retrospectively removed from a candidates shortlist ‘when new information came to the attention of the committee’.

Her removal from the shortlist came after the campaign group Labour Against Antisemitism, criticised the committee over material it claims Ms Harris shared on Facebook.

However on social media, Ms Harris tweeted: “I have fought all my life against racism and anti-semitism.”

Speaking at the time Euan Philipps, a Labour councillor and spokesman for Labour Against Antisemitism, said: “We find it beyond belief that Michelle Harris is even a Labour Party member, never mind that she has been shortlisted as a parliamentary candidate, yet here we are. Ms Harris must now withdraw and an investigation be held into how this was allowed to happen. The Labour Party has a problem with antisemitism that will continue to grow unless it is robustly challenged. Our leadership must act much more decisively in tackling antisemitism, before Labour loses its integrity as an anti-racist party.”

The Hastings Observer contacted both the Labour party and Ms Harris for comment but did not receive a response. While Ms Harris did not respond to approaches from this newspaper, she has addressed criticism on social media.

Responding to screenshots posted by Twitter user Marlon Solomon, Ms Harris said: “I’m firmly two state solution and for peace. I’ve never advocated anything but a two state solution, and you’ve trolled me back to 2014 to find something to complain about. I abhor all racism.”

In a later tweet, she added: “I have fought all my life against racism and anti-semitism. I don’t deny it’s worryingly on the rise generally but I see the big threat coming from the right/neo Nazis. I fear the attacks on the left, play into their hands.”