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Labour accused of editing Naz Shah’s apology to remove references to anti-Semitism

Labour accused of editing Naz Shah's apology to remove references to anti-Semitism
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It's finally happened. Over 24 hours after news first broke of Naz Shah sharing anti-Semitic posts online, the Labour MP has been suspended. While Labour say this is by 'mutual agreement', the move comes after several apologies from Shah -- and quite a long silence from Corbyn.

However, the use of the term 'mutual agreement' is of particular intrigue in light of revelations from Buzzfeed. The website reports that Shah had her personal apology diluted after her team sent it to party officials to be approved. In Shah's original draft, she is said to have written: 'I helped promote anti-Semitic tropes. This was totally wrong'. However, this along with another mention of anti-Semitism was reportedly dropped from the final version approved by Labour.

They go on to claim that another line in which she said she wanted to be part of a discussion 'where the concerns of Jewish individuals and communities are taken seriously and anti-Semitism is not dismissed out of hand or ignored' also failed to make the final cut. Given that several Jewish figures in the media thought that the approved apology fell short, the edits would appear to have been far from helpful to Shah's cause. However, Labour HQ deny that they had any involvement in editing the piece; 'This article was not seen, written, edited or approved by Labour HQ, so to suggest we changed it is completely wrong.'

So, is Corbyn's press team -- led by Seumas Milne, who had lunch just last week with a man who has said 'Hamas is no terrorist organisation’ --  still struggling to master the dark art of spin, or is something much murkier going on?

Update: It appears that the edits were made by Shah's office. Buzzfeed's Jim Waterson has issued an amendment to this story:

The original version of this story was based on a draft of an apology under consideration by Naz Shah’s office. However, she says this was not the final version sent to the Labour leader’s office for approval. BuzzFeed News accepts that nobody in Jeremy Corbyn’s office or Labour HQ saw or edited the draft referred to in our original story.

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from London and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk.

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