| Jo Bird |
|Interests||Jewish Voice for Labour|
Liverpool councillor who was expelled from the Labour Party
Jo Bird is a British politician who has been the Labour and Co-operative councillor for Bromborough in the Wirral since August 2018.
On 19 November 2021, Jo Bird tweeted:
I'm delighted the Labour Party expelled me today.
I'm free from fear about speaking and meeting with other people.
I continue to work for people of Bromborough as your local Councillor. FOR THE MANY, not the few.
Standing for Parliament
Cllr Bird had hoped to succeed Louise Ellman as the MP for Liverpool Riverside and, in a video released in October 2019, said:
- “I am one of many Jewish members of the Labour Party here in Liverpool City Region. We don’t recognise the description that Louise Ellman paints of the Labour Party being institutionally anti-semitic.
- “My experience is a very welcoming Labour Party. For me as a Jewish person, as a socialist and as a human I’m proud to represent this community. Louise Ellman was elected on a Labour ticket, she should resign and call a by-election as she is no longer part of the Labour Party.”
Jo Bird applied for the vacancy on Labour's National Executive Committee created by the election to Parliament of former NEC member Claudia Webbe but was narrowly beaten by right winger Johanna Baxter, after what was described as an attempt to rig the NEC election.
On 4 March 2019, Jo Bird was suspended by the Labour Party pending investigation of allegedly antisemitic remarks she made in May 2018 at a meeting in support of political activist Marc Wadsworth, who was expelled for behaviour deemed "grossly detrimental" after a confrontation with Labour MP Ruth Smeeth in 2016.
Both a recording of a speech leaked to the Jewish Chronicle from the meeting and a blog written by Jo Bird for Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) struck a similar tone on the issue, mentioning Labour members such as Mr Wadsworth and former London Mayor Ken Livingstone:
- "JVL is campaigning with others to overturn Marc Wadsworth’s unfair expulsion, clear his name and to defend Jackie Walker (who is black and Jewish) and others earmarked for the next phase in expulsions.
- "JVL is calling for disciplinary hearings to be paused until a due process has been established based on principles of natural justice. What I call Jew process."
Tory councillors engage in antisemitism
Speaking at a meeting of Wirral Council on Monday 4 March 2019, Cllr Bird was video recorded (from 01:30:40 to 01:33:20) saying:
- “I’m sorry that the Wirral Conservatives feel the need to leave the chamber at this point. You will not be able to hear the voice of Bromborough and New Ferry residents, nor my apology for my words being misunderstood…”
(see 01:31:00 interruption by Mayor Geoffrey Watt to facilitate the Tory / Independent walk-out)
- “…thank you, it is unfortunate that the Conservative members have chosen to leave, thereby depriving their own residents of their voice in this chamber. And I’d like to address everybody, fellow councillors and residents of Wirral. I nip out during the Christian prayers here partly because I’m Jewish. My great-grandparents were refugees from ethnic cleansing and fascism in Europe. My grandfather never knew his cousins because they perished in the Holocaust. I know from lived experience…
(see 01:31:54 Independent Councillor Chris Meaden is seen walking out)
- "…what racism against…
(see 01:31:56 Independent Councillor Moira McLaughlin is seen walking out)
- "…Jewish people looks like, and it’s vile. Just today I received anti-Semitic hate emails. I was told that it is time for Jews to leave the UK, that I’m low-life, go and crawl back under your rock, and that I’m a Nazi. And actually what gives me nightmares these days are political moves to the right and the far right, for example, Conservative leaders like Theresa May, creating what she herself calls a hostile environment for migrants who enrich our country, such as the Windrush generation. And we’ve seen just right now the hostile environment created by Conservatives in the Wirral. It is Labour who have led every piece of anti-racist legislation in this country. As you know, at our last council meeting, this birdy has a self-deprecating sense of humour and I’m sorry if any offence has been caused by my plays on words. That was not my intention. As councillor for Bromborough / New Ferry, I welcome the proposed budget and the much-needed fund for New Ferry. The fund will help to rebuild lives and the livelihoods of people and traders devastated by the gas explosion almost two years ago. Thank you all for your support.”
In November 2021, Jo Bird was expelled from the Labour Party.
|Document:We condemn the suspension of Jo Bird and the appointment of Lord Falconer||Article||4 March 2019||As Ken Loach said: “If it looks like a witch hunt and behaves like a witch hunt – it may well be just that. This is intolerable and must end now.”|
- "Councillor Jo Bird, Party: Labour and Co-operative, Ward: Bromborough"
- "I'm delighted the Labour Party expelled me today"
- "Wirral councillor Jo Bird lined up to replace Liverpool MP Louise Ellman"
- "Corbynsceptics sweep the board in Labour’s ruling body by-elections"
- "Labour attempts to rig internal election"
- "Labour councillor suspended after 'Jew process' joke"
- "Wirral Council meeting Monday 4th March 2019"
- Document:We condemn the suspension of Jo Bird and the appointment of Lord Falconer
- "Wirral Tory / Independent antisemitism? Not reported in newspapers or media"