High Peak MP apologises over ‘Israel backing’ gaffe

Ruth George, MP for the High Peak
Ruth George, MP for the High Peak

High Peak MP Ruth George has apologised after suggesting the group of seven MPs who split from the Labour Party this week were “possibly” being supported by the State of Israel.

Her ‘ill-thought out’ comment came in response to a social media row which was sparked when High Peak councillor Nick Longos ‘loved’ another person’s Facebook comment which said ‘Israelis’ on a post featuring a picture of The Independent Group of MPs.

Since the group of MPs announced their departure it has emerged that they have registered as a private company, not a political party - prompting speculation about their financial backers.

In response to a Facebook post about the councillor, Ruth appeared to support the ‘conspiracy theory’ that The Independent Group of MPs were backed by Israel.

Ruth’s comments have been met with a furious online backlash since she made them earlier today (Tuesday).

She wrote (SIC): “Support from the State of Israel, which supports both Conservative and Labour ‘Friends of Israel’, of which Luciana [Berger] was chair, is possible and I would not condemn those who suggest it, especially when the group’s financial backers are not being revealed.

“It’s important for democracy to know the financial backers for any political group or policy.”

However, she later issued an apology.

In it she wrote: “On my earlier response to a Facebook comment, I unreservedly and wholeheartedly apologise for my comment.

“I had no intention of invoking a conspiracy theory and I am deeply sorry that my ill-thought out and poorly worded comment did this. I withdraw it completely.”