A Labour activist who posted graphic anti-Semitic imagery from a white supremacist US website has been suspended from the party and barred from its candidates list, HuffPost UK can reveal.
The action was taken against Kayla Bibby this week after Liverpool Riverside’s Jewish MP Louise Ellman complained that her case had not been dealt with strongly enough.
Bibby, who was a delegate at the party conference in Liverpool in September, has been suspended after further evidence came to light of her conduct.
The 33-year-old was first investigated last year after she posted on Facebook in March an image of the Statue of Liberty being covered by an alien ‘facehugger’ emblazoned with a Star of David, the international symbol of the Jewish faith.
But Bibby, who is a member of Ellman’s local party, received only a formal warning, known as a “reminder of conduct”, and was not ordered to undertake any training on anti-Semitism.
Earlier this week, it emerged that just 12 Labour members had been expelled since last April for abuse linked to or driven by Jew hatred. Hundreds of cases were not progressed to full disciplinary hearings and many dealt with only by a “reminder of conduct”.
Ellman – who authorised HuffPost UK to publish the image to underscore how disturbing it was – raised the case during a heated meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) on Monday.
Fellow MPs were shocked by types of imagery and articles that were posted on the notorious American website, which is called “Incogman”.
The MP, who had complained last year to general secretary Jennie Formby about the lack of tough action when the incident was revealed by the Sunday Times, pointed out that Bibby had never been suspended, nor apologised for her conduct.
HuffPost has been passed evidence that the activist approached the “Incogman” website to explicitly ask permission to use the anti-Semitic imagery, which had accompanied an article titled “Bloodsucking Alien Parasites Killing America”.
The website is viciously racist and homophobic and among its recent articles have been a string of anti-Semitic diatribes.
Bibby was named as a potential candidate for the city council elections in a booklet drafted by the party’s Liverpool Local Campaign Forum (LCF) last year.
She was excluded from the candidate list last October, but had appealed against her exclusion. The party has since decided to reject her appeal, although it is unclear when that decision was taken.
Other images and articles posted by “Incogman” in recent months are clearly anti-Semitic. Its contents are so graphic that the site is blocked by the UK parliamentary authorities.
During the PLP meeting, Ellman distributed a dossier containing some of the imagery to fellow MPs.
Among the headlines were “Jew Judge Forcing Christians To Give Kids To Fags”, “Jew Lawyer Trains Rapefugees How To Act Christian”.
Ellman told HuffPost UK: “I welcome the fact that the Labour Party have taken action at last, but it is shameful that I had to pursue the case in this way and expose the party’s shortcomings.
“Further investigations must take place while the suspension occurs. This should not be the end of it, but it’s an important first step. Somebody who acted in this way should have no place in the Labour party.”
After the party investigated the case last November, Ellman was sent a response from Labour’s complaints unit which read: “Kayla Bibby has been under investigation by the party.
“This investigation has now concluded and she has been given a formal reminder of her conduct which will remain on her membership record.
“I want to reassure you that the Labour Party takes all complaints of anti-Semitism very seriously and has robust procedures in place for dealing with these complaints when they arise. This has been dealt with in line with our procedures.”
Ellman complained to Formby that the sanction of a “reminder of conduct” was nowhere near the tough action required.
In her reply, Formby said: “The party staff and the NEC Disputes Panel members who deal with each case have the benefit of all the relevant evidence, which generally includes the material originally complained of and any response by the member to enquiries made in the course of investigation.
“That contrasts, of course, with the position of those who pen speculative and often anti-Labour comment in the media about the party’s internal processes.”
UPDATE: Bibby told HuffPost UK, via email: “The Labour Party now has a modern and well functioning disciplinary process as you will know and I am of course delighted that this is being looked into, as I’m sure you are.
“Any speculation in relation to the matter would prejudice the outcome of any investigation and therefore it is not reasonable for me to comment further.”
Those close to Bibby suggested last year that she had posted the image because she thought the blue Star of David was a symbol of Israel and her point was about the state of Israel rather than Jews as a race.