A Labour election candidate has given an astonishing interview where she appeared to compare the celebrating the death of Tony Blair to Adolf Hitler’s demise.
Jane Aitchison, who is standing in the marginal Pudsey seat in Yorkshire, was on the BBC’s 5Live today when she was asked about another prospective MP’s questionable comments.
Zarah Sultana, the Labour parliamentary candidate in Coventry South, had previously said she would celebrate the deaths of Tony Blair and Benjamin Netanyahu, the former Israeli prime minister.
Sultana this week apologised for the remarks she made in 2015.
Aitchison was asked by presenter Emma Barnett whether Sultana should be allowed to stand, after these comments had come to light.
It prompted a full 12-second pause before answering she would ”like to talk to Sultana”. As the interview continued, appeared to draw a parallel between celebrating the deaths of Blair and Netanyahu and cheering the demise of the Nazi leader. People “celebrated the death of Hitler”, she said.
Listen to the clip and read full transcript below
Emma Barnett: Should (Sultana) be allowed to stand?
Jane Aitchison: I think that needs to be looked at and I am sure it is.
EB: It is being looked at. What is your opinion?
JA: I don’t know the details of it.
EB: I told you the detail. That is what she said. You are someone yourself who has been pulled up for previous social media posts, and you’re standing. Should she be able to?
JA: Sometimes people say things that are very passionate, and they say things that are wrong. But I don’t know .. I don’t think what she is saying there is necessarily worse than looking down on the people of Grenfell who died in a fire.
EB: We’re in a situation of Top Trumps: what’s worse, talking about people in a tower who should have got out versus celebrating the deaths of two former prime ministers and a current prime minster.
JA: Well, it’s not good is it? But what I’m saying is we’ve got people saying these things ... should they all be banned from standing? Are we only going to allow saints to stand?
EB: Well, I’m asking a specific. Do you think she should be able to stand after saying we should celebrate the deaths of Tony Blair and Benjamin Netanyahu? You’ve just got through a selection process to be the candidate here.
JA: (12-second pause) I think I’d like to talk to her and see what she is really trying to say. Is she apologising? I don’t know. If she’s apologising I think that would be OK. People do celebrate deaths ... sometimes. It’s not good is it? Is it really good to celebrate deaths? It’s not. But people do sometimes because they feel strongly about whatever that person represented.
EB: I’m sorry, you just said sometimes people do celebrate deaths.
JA: Of course they do.
EB: You sound like you’re defending what could be a celebration of death of Tony Blair.
JA: No, I’m not. What I am saying is ... for instance they celebrated the death of Hitler. It’s not tasteful. But it’s there.