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Labour AM readmitted after suspension over Jewish community comments

Credit: Labour Party/PA Images

Cardiff Central AM, Jenny Rathbone, has been readmitted to her party in the assembly after being suspended for comments regarded as potentially anti-Semitic.

A National Assembly Labour Party spokesperson confirmed Ms Rathbone was readmitted following a seven week suspension.

Jenny Rathbone was readmitted to the Group at the start of the spring term following a seven week suspension. A complaint has been referred to the UK Labour Party.

– National Assembly Labour Party spokesperson

In a recording leaked to the Jewish Chronicle in November 2018, the Cardiff Central AM was heard saying: "The fact that the Jewish synagogue in Cyncoed is behind this fortress is really uncomfortable". She added "how much of it is for real and how much of it is in their own heads is really hard for an outsider to judge".

The Labour AM later apologised for the comments, saying she was "deeply sorry" and that her comments had been "insensitive".

Jenny Rathbone celebrating victory in the Welsh Assembly election in 2011. Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Archive/PA Images

Despite being readmitted, Jenny Rathbone remains under investigation by the UK Labour Party. The initial comments were passed on to the General Secretary of the Party for investigation in November 2018.

Responding to the decision to readmit Ms Rathbone, the Welsh Conservatives said the "decision raises questions about the Labour Party’s attitude towards the Jewish citizens of our country".

Ms Rathbone was suspended from the Party and the Group so her comments and the extent of her prejudices could be investigated thoroughly and diligently. This has not happened, yet she’s been welcomed back with open arms.

This only goes to demonstrate that Labour do not care about the Jewish community, the hate aimed at them, and their security concerns.

– Mohammad Asghar AM, Welsh Conservative and Shadow Faith Minister

Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, Jane Dodds, tweeted that the decision to readmit Ms Rathbone was "outrageous". She added that the Cardiff Central AM "should remain suspended until the investigation is complete, anything else undermines the process".