A suspended Labour candidate in Peterborough has categorically refuted claims he is a Holocaust denier which he said are part of a “smear campaign.”
Alan Bull said he shared an article on his private Facebook account with the title ‘Red Cross confirm holocaust is a hoax’ in the hope that his friends would “confirm my suspicion that it was not genuine.”
In a lengthy response to the Peterborough Telegraph, which exclusively revealed he was being investigated by the party, he added: “I have not re-posted it since I received guidance that this article had been widely discredited and would not post anything like it again.
“In hindsight I fully accept that I was naive to assume that our right to free speech could, or should, include such a controversial and unacceptable article, even if only to a closed group, and I will not do so again.”
Mr Bull, who said he was a “lifelong anti-racist,” also claimed a screen shot of the post which led to the complaint against him had been altered. This allegedly included the removal of a comment he had made underneath the post where he said he was definitely not a Holocaust denier.
He added: “I think most people would agree that viewing the above doctored screen shot without these key comments gives the impression that I in some way agree with the article, which I certainly do not.
“It also occurs to me that this person, who I have not even spoken to, who made this screen shot, has not only trawled through thousands of my private postings but has also completely misrepresented my intention for posting when making his complaint.”
Mr Bull’s response follows news that the head of Labour’s disputes panel, Christine Shawcroft, resigned after she sent an email calling for the reinstatement of Mr Bull who was due to stand in Stanground South seat at May’s Peterborough City Council elections before being suspended.
However, in a statement she said she had not been aware of the Facebook post which led to his suspension.
The news came a few hours after two Labour city councillors revealed they were being disciplined by the party after calling for Mr Bull not to stand in the elections.
Cllr Matthew Mahabadi and Cllr Richard Ferris wrote in the New Statesmen that they were being investigated by their fellow councillors for “bullying and intimidating behaviour” on social media.
The pair added: “You could not make it up.”
The PT has attempted to contact the whip of the Labour group on the council for her response.
Both councillors said the first complaint against Mr Bull was made in July 2017 to Labour’s regional office in the East of England, but that his candidacy was later endorsed locally before an investigation concluded.
When the PT revealed in February that Mr Bull was being investigated Labour refused to comment, but after the story was picked up by the Jewish Chronicle a month later it emerged that the party had suspended Mr Bull, meaning he was no longer able to stand for the party in the local elections.
Last night, Labour’s council group leader Cllr Ed Murphy said a new candidate had been selected to contest Stanground South on May 3.