Portsmouth Labour activist accused of anti-semitism claims his ‘words were twisted’

Ian Love pictured at a community picnic in Portsmouth against 'hate politics', in 2016
Ian Love pictured at a community picnic in Portsmouth against 'hate politics', in 2016
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A CITY activist has claimed his ‘words were twisted’ when they were called out as part of a probe into anti-semitism among Labour supporters.

Ian Love, 64, an organiser for Momentum Portsmouth, will be formally investigated by the grassroots Labour group after posting inflammatory comments on social media.

He came under fire amid reports he called former Labour leader Tony Blair ‘Jewish to the core’ on Facebook, claiming the ex-prime minister was ‘protected’ by the Rothschild family, who he said ‘control all the money in the world.’

But after his comments appeared in a Sunday Times probe into so-called anti-semitic strains of Labour supporters online, Mr Love told The News: ‘It was not about anti-semitism, it was about capitalism – my words were twisted.’

While Mr Love refused to elaborate, Labour representatives across the city have united to condemn his remarks.

MP for Portsmouth South, Stephen Morgan, said: ‘I have called on the Labour party to investigate and act on the serious allegations in today’s Sunday Times.

‘I joined the Labour party to fight prejudice and discrimination. We must have zero tolerance on anti-semitism and hatred whenever it is found.’

In a collective statement the executive committee of the Portsmouth Constituency Labour Party also slammed the remarks, as its representatives embark on the campaign trail ahead of local elections in May.

It said: ‘There is no place for the views of some Labour members as outlined in the Sunday Times today.

‘The Labour Party will act on concerns and ensure those involved are fully investigated.’

Independent councillor for Paulsgrove John Ferrett, who used to be the Labour group leader on Portsmouth City Council, branded Mr Love’s comments ‘disgusting’ and ‘clearly anti-semitic’.

He dubbed the Labour party as a whole a ‘cesspit’ under Momentum-backed leader Jeremy Corbyn.

He added: ‘Mr Love’s defence does not hold water. His comments rely on Jewish tropes.’

The remarks also sparked a fiery debate on Twitter, where Portsmouth Labour backer Alex Carlen called for Mr Love to be ‘gone from Momentum’.