A COUNCIILLOR suspended from her party over alleged anti-Semitism will remain on the Labour Group.

Brighton and Hove city councillor Anne Pissaridou has been suspended by the national Labour Party over the sharing of allegedly anti-Semitic posts.

However, it was announced late last night that she will remain on the council’s Labour Group of councillors. 

She will not, the council says, be allowed to attend meetings or speak on behalf of the Labour Group.

However, she will still be able to vote in meetings, but not as a Labour Group member. 

The council says this is national Labour Party policy. 

Cllr Pissaridou has resigned as chairwoman of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee with immediate effect.

Council Leader Nancy Platts today said she was deeply sorry to the Jewish community on behalf of the council’s Labour Group.

The Argus:

“On behalf of the Labour Group, I am deeply sorry to the Jewish community for the hurt these posts have caused. All councillors have a responsibility to actively tackle and challenge all forms of racism and I expect nothing less from members of my own Group.

“We are a City of Sanctuary, and we have pledged to become an actively anti-racist council.  I hope our actions, which go further than the national Labour Party’s, demonstrate our absolute commitment to tackling anti-Semitism."

Cllr Pissaridou has been the face of many controversial council policies to pedestrianise the city, including the car ban in Madeira Drive and the Old Shoreham Road cycle lane.

Cllr Pissaridou said: “I am deeply sorry for my actions and any distress I have caused to the Jewish community.

“This happened several years ago, before I was a councillor, and the posts I shared do not reflect my views. I do not seek to excuse my mistake. I deeply regret not properly reading information before sharing such hurtful links. 

“I am aware of the complaint that has been made to the Labour Party and will fully co-operate with any investigation.” 

Last month, the authority pledged to become an anti-racist council ahead of Black Lives Matter protests.

Councillor Carmen Appich acknowledged the authority’s position as a “predominantly white council” but said it must “recognise what we don’t know, what we don’t experience and see”.

The Sussex Jewish Representative Council said it was “concerned” about the Labour-led council after news broke yesterday morning  

A spokeswoman said: “Hollow statements in the press apologising to the community are meaningless when no approach is ever made to us. It is time that the leadership of both the local Labour Party and Brighton and Hove Council took action and stopped issuing empty press releases. 

“Anti-Jewish racism is not a second division form of racism and we are tired of seeing our community treated with such disrespect.  

“Until this council is serious about tackling anti-Semitism, their claims to be an anti-racist council fall very short of the mark.”

Earlier this year, news broke that Labour councillor and homeless chief Nichole Brennan was being investigated for alleged anti-Semitism. 

She resigned from her council cabinet posts after photos of her holding up a sign calling Israel a “racist, apartheid state” were given to The Argus. However, she has not been suspended from the Labour Party. 

The Argus:

Former council leader and current Labour councillor Daniel Yates said he was “ashamed” after hearing of Cllr Pissaridou’s suspension. 

Cllr Yates, who stepped down as leader in May 2019, said: “Politicians often believe that there is a form of words that will cover any eventuality and move things forward. Much of the time this is true. 

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“However it’s also true that words alone cannot address the difficult issues with proper action. 

“Today I am again ashamed of being a Labour city councillor.

“This makes being a politician an impossible task and brings shame on us all. I can only apologise for the hurt, fear and betrayal these actions have caused those who we seek to represent and support. There is no action I can take to undo this. 

“But I am and will continue to ask those with the power to act to do so. Our city deserves so much better.”