A NEWLY-ELECTED MP is under fire for intervening on behalf of a party member facing disciplinary action for anti-Semitic comments.

Brighton and Hove city councillor Caroline Penn has told The Argus she felt lied to by Kemptown MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle after the MP told her over Twitter he was “not appealing” on behalf of a Labour Party activist who said the BBC faked footage of a Syrian gas attack at the behest of the “Israeli lobby.”

But in a leaked letter from Mr Russell-Moyle to the general secretary of the Labour Party, seen by The Argus, the MP says he “recommends” the member’s reinstatement, concluding: “I do hope her record and her apologies will be enough to... allow her to return to membership.”

Cllr Penn said she was “furious” to learn of the content of the letter, written a week before the Twitter exchange with Mr Russell-Moyle in which she accused him of “defending the indefensible”.

Telling The Argus she felt lied to by the newly-elected MP, she added: “I’m very disappointed he chose to misrepresent his views and actions in this way.”

The row began before the election when Labour Party member Melanie Melvin was suspended for actions including a tweet which read: “Breaking: Sarin gas was filmed by the BBC at Pinewood on the orders of Mrs May and the Israeli lobby.”

Following a conversation with Ms Melvin, Mr Russell-Moyle wrote to Labour Party general secretary Iain McNicol on June 30 to say her tweet seemed “unhinged at best” but had, he believed, been made as a parody of online conspiracy theorists.

He said her behaviour showed “naivety but no malicious intent” and said, as a “stalwart of the campaign” who has apologised, the member should be reinstated.

Ivor Caplin, south-east chairman of the Jewish Labour Movement and former MP for Hove, told The Argus: “I can’t see how anyone could say she should continue to be a member of the Labour Party.

“We have to take firm and decisive action on this issue.”

He said there was “ample evidence” the tweet by Melanie Melvin breached an internationally accepted definition of anti-Semitism agreed by both the Government and the Labour Party.

Via Twitter on Sunday, Mr Russell-Moyle told Cllr Penn: “ he had “reported” the conversation with Ms Melvin to the party, adding: “I’ve a duty to relay a genuine conversation... She will have to appeal herself. I’m not appealing on anyone’s behalf.”

Yesterday he told The Argus: “I’m not appealing on her behalf.

“My understanding is there was an appeal going in and I was asked for evidence on her behalf. I was asked what my opinion was.

“She had assured me she was trying to show how stupid those views were.

“Based on that conversation I believe she’d been suitably apologetic.”

He added that if further evidence came to light that Ms Melvin held anti-Semitic views, that there “should be no place her her” in the Labour Party.

He said he would be “more than happy” to apologise to Cllr Penn “if she feels betrayed.”