Welsh Labour criticised as Jenny Rathbone is readmitted to Assembly group

Jenny Rathbone. Picture by the National Assembly (CC BY 2.0)

The Welsh Conservatives have criticised the decision to readmit Cardiff Central AM Jenny Rathbone to Welsh Labour’s Assembly group.

She was suspended last November for making “extremely offensive” comments about Jewish people and the security concerns of a synagogue in her own constituency.

In comments made in 2017, reported by the Jewish Chronicle, she said:

“The fact that the Jewish synagogue in Cyncoed is, is become one of these, you know, fortress is really uncomfortable. How much of it is for real and how much of it is in their own heads is really hard for an outsider to judge, but I think siege mentalities are also part of it.”

Welsh Conservative and Shadow Faith Minister Mohammad Asghar AM, said:

“This decision raises so many questions about the Labour Party’s attitude towards the Jewish citizens of our country.

“Ms Rathbone was suspended from the Party and the Group so her comments and the extent of her prejudices could be investigated thoroughly and diligently. This has not happened, yet she’s been welcomed back with open arms.

“This only goes to demonstrate that Labour do not care about the Jewish community, the hate aimed at them, and their security concerns.

“Is it a coincidence that Ms Rathbone supported Mark Drakeford for the leadership and once he won the competition, she’s back in?

Troubling

“When her troubling comments came to light, people wanted a fair investigation to ensure due process. But it seems Labour aren’t interested. This will be a huge stain on the new First Minister’s record.”

In a statement issued last year Ms Rathbone said: “I accept that comments I made were insensitive and have laid me open to accusations of intolerance.

“I’ve always appreciated the good relationship I’ve had with my local Jewish community and I apologise for any upset that my remarks may have caused to individual constituents and the wider Jewish community.

“With levels of anti-Semitism on the rise in many western countries, and following the devastating attack on Pittsburgh synagogue, no one can or should downplay the fears and concerns that many Jewish people are experiencing.

“I had no intention of doing so and I am deeply sorry that I did.”

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