Lib Dems eye by-election as Labour councillor gets caught sharing anti-Semitic posts on Facebook

Councillor Mohammed Pappu, who was elected as the Labour member for Blackwall & Cubitt Town in May this year, has been caught peddling anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on Facebook according to The Times.

Cllr. Pappu (Labour, Blackwall & Cubitt Town)

Scrutiny Lead for Governance

Cllr. Pappu was in charge of grants scrutiny at the council, receiving an additional £19,000 on top of his basic allowance.

Correction: Cllr. Pappu was Vice-Chair of the Grants Scrutiny Sub-Committee. As Scrutiny Lead for Governance (elected by the Committee) he had an SRA of £8,000 in addition to his basic allowance of £10,938, making this a total of £19,000. 

After admitting making the post the councillor has been suspended from the Labour party and his committee positions after being challenged by Times Investigations Editor Dominic Kennedy.

The Times story reports that Cllr. Pappu shared messages that accused Britain of attacking Syria “to install a Rothschild bank” as well as posts claiming that Israel had staged 9/11 and the London bombings and the Paris terrorist attacks.

Explanation required by Mayor

Mayor of Tower Hamlets John Biggs said: “I’m very clear that these views are incompatible with being a Labour Party member – they fall far below the standard we would expect from a Labour member and I am pleased the national Party is taking action. I note that Councillor Pappu has apologised and resigned from his scrutiny roles on the council, and he will need to explain his decision to share these posts.”

Trustee of disadvantaged children’s charity

Cllr. Pappu was a trustee and chairman of the Soul (Social Organisation for Unity and Leisure) charity for disadvantaged children and until 2016 used his Facebook page as an information page for football matches organised by Soul.

The charity has launched an immediate safeguarding review according to The Times.

The councillor has also been Chair of Tower Hamlets Young Labour since January 2017 and from 2009 to 2016 was a Youth Worker for Streets of Growth, a youth outreach and intervention charity.

One of the Facebook posts made by Cllr. Pappu

A spokesperson for Tower Hamlets Council said:

“Any form of anti-Semitism, racism or bigotry is completely unacceptable. We are concerned by the allegations about the use of a councillor’s personal social media account. We will thoroughly investigate any alleged breaches of our code of conduct and the standards we expect from councillors. Robust action will be taken if our rules have been broken.”

“Recently our councillors voted to adopt the definition of anti-Semitism as set out by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.”

Labour still not addressing bigotry – Khan

Cllr. Rabina Khan, Liberal Democrat

Rabina Khan, Liberal Democrat councillor for Shadwell said:

“It beggars belief that the council unanimously voted to adopt the international standard definition of antisemitism at their last meeting while one of their councillors was posting content that clearly spread anti-Semitic sentiment.

Labour has failed to properly address bigotry within their party in allowing candidates with these views to stand and hold positions of responsibility within the Council.

Our residents deserve better than this and deserve the right to elect a new councillor.”

Biggs showing “extraordinarily poor judgement” – Bagshaw

Elaine Bagshaw, the party’s Mayoral candidate in 2018 commented:

“This shows extraordinarily poor judgement on the part of John Biggs. It’s almost a joke in bad taste that this person was given a position in charge of scrutiny when there had clearly been a complete failure of scrutiny when he was chosen for the position and as a candidate. Under Labour’s administration, our children’s services are still not judged to be adequate and it adds insult to injury that our own councillors are influencing young people with divisive and false claims that puts them more at risk.”

Should resign as councillor – Wood

“If the facts are verified I believe Cllr Pappu should resign as a Councillor,” said Cllr Andrew Wood, leader of the Conservative Group on Tower Hamlets Council. ‘Tower Hamlets Council has important responsibilities towards child safety and is a corporate parent. Somebody who is so blasé about their child safeguarding responsibilities should not be a Councillor. We believe this issue warrants a serious investigation.”

LW Comment

Anyone surprised by this? No, nor us. And does anyone in Tower Hamlets believe Cllr. Pappu’s sudden contrition – after getting caught out?

This attitude was best expressed by these words in the Times comments section which we have plagiarised (HT @Harry4Poplar)

“I’m very sorry (I got caught) and I promise, if you let me off I’ll try my best never to get caught again.”

Guess what Pappu? You are not going to get let off so chew on that. A senior borough politician LW talked to about this suggested he should be given some leeway because he is young and inexperienced.

No chance. You become a politician in this borough it is big boys rules. No quarter will be given, so don’t expect any.

Being a councillor is a privilege and it is right that all councillors should be held to a high level of public and personal behaviour.

Pass the sick bucket

A bucket.

Pappu has – after first denying he even had a Facebook account – now decided to do the full confession thing.

And even – and this is where the bucket is needed – saying that he intends to receive awareness training.

Anyone believe this nonsense? Pedalling extremist anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on a Facebook page visited by youngsters one day and up for awareness training the next? Seriously?

The sceptical might argue that Pappu’s sudden contrition is because he is already angling to keep his post as a councillor.

Yes, you read that correctly. Pappu is still a Tower Hamlets councillor.

OK, he is no longer a Labour councillor but he is now an Independent. Or is that independent?

One down – how many more to go?

This incident raises some serious questions about the basic competence of the Labour Party in Tower Hamlets – which is not surprising as even its own members describe it as a basket case.

How does a guy with these sort of despicable, evil, abhorrent views get to be a Labour candidate? How? Did nobody in Tower Hamlets Labour Party think “Ooh, maybe we should check his FB shares and tweets in case he is a antisemite or sum fink?” It would seem not.

Even without a formal check Pappu must have had Facebook friends who were members of Tower Hamlets Labour Party? Did none of these people ever look at his Facebook posts? Nobody? Or did they look and choose to ignore what they found?

How many other councillors elected in May hold the same extremist views?

By-election yes, zombie councillor no

Cllr. Pappu and his views have no place in Tower Hamlets politics. If he is genuinely remorseful he will do the right thing and resign his seat today. If he does not he will confirm that he is trying to bullshit the residents of this borough.

The Liberal Democrat opposition in Tower Hamlets is now pressing for the by-election that will follow his resignation. It is hoped that the Conservative opposition will also call for a by-election.

Allowing Cllr. Pappu to become an inactive zombie councillor – while still pocketing his allowance – is not an option.

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4 thoughts on “Lib Dems eye by-election as Labour councillor gets caught sharing anti-Semitic posts on Facebook

  1. I’m a new Wapping resident, and the idea of a local online newspaper bringing all aspects and all shades of opinions about local life to readers is great. It would deserve to be called “Love Wapping” — whereas the current production really should be called “Love The Sound Of My Own Voice.”

    1. Hi Roger, thanks very much for your comment. It’s a shame that someone so new to E1W should be offended by the editorial tone of Love Wapping, but then we don’t give a damn what you think so, er, that’s it! Pip pip!

  2. The LibDems can eye a Blackwall & Cubitt Town byelection all they like. They came a poor 4th in the May elections. The fight will be between Labour and Conservative, as always.

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