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LABOUR’S youth wing and thousands of party activists have called on shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith to resign after appearing to support an amnesty for British soldiers suspected of committing war crimes.
Ms Griffith, who represents Llanelli, said she was “glad” to hear of defence secretary Penny Mordaunt’s plans to grant former soldiers immunity from potential prosecution.
She added: “Labour would support any proposals that are effective and fair and I look forward to working with Penny Mordaunt on this.”
In response, Young Labour, which represents over a fifth of the party’s membership, released a statement expressing its “horror” at Ms Griffith’s comments.
In a strongly worded statement, the organisation said: “We must be absolutely clear that Labour is the party of human rights and international law.
“The lives of Iraqi, Afghan, Irish Catholic and all other peoples matter, and Nia’s comments will no doubt raise fears in the Irish and Muslim communities.
“We are calling for Nia Griffith to resign, or for the party leadership to replace her.”
An open letter written by Scottish Labour activists Ewan Gibbs and Michael Muir criticised Ms Griffith for “legitimising the most reactionary elements within British society.”
It also called upon Labour’s governing national executive committee (NEC) to “discuss and clarify” the party’s stance on war criminals, and demands that action is taken if Ms Griffith refuses to step down.
At the time of print, the petition has been signed by over 1,900 people, including NEC representatives Yasmine Dar, Huda Elmi and Lara McNeill, as well as Momentum chair Jon Lansman.
Similar statements from the party’s youth organisation in Scotland and London also called for Ms Griffith’s resignation from the shadow cabinet, and Momentum have called for her to “retract” her statement.
Ms McNeill told the Star: “It’s completely unacceptable that our shadow defence secretary is claiming Labour’s position is to back people who could have committed unspeakable acts of violence against civilian populations.
“It needs to be absolutely clear that Labour is the party of human rights, that there is nothing patriotic about committing war crimes – and that to suggest this is an insult to the vast majority of our armed forces.”
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