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Labour suspends Ian McKenzie over beheading and gang rape tweets

BLAIRITE Lewisham East Constituency Labour Party chairman Ian McKenzie was suspended today over sexually violent tweets, including one about shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry being beheaded by Isis.

The tweet from 2016, in a discussion about Ms Thornberry’s comments on the death cult, read: “Emily Thornberry is too old for Isis. They won’t make a sex slave of her. They’ll behead her and dump her in a mass grave.”

A tweet from the year before, in a conversation about a woman being interviewed by Channel 4, read: “Maybe she’d agree sex slavery to one man only, provided he didn’t sell her on or insist on gang rape.”

Lewisham Labour councillor Luke Sorba wrote that the posts were “shocking and indefensible.” Fellow councillor Alex Feis-Bryce wrote: “As a rape survivor and campaigner on this issue, these comments made me feel physically sick. Misogyny and gratuitous jokes about rape have no place in our party or our society.”

Mr McKenzie’s case will be considered at a meeting of the Labour national executive’s disputes committee in July. He also stood down on Monday night from his role as policy adviser to new Newham Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz.

A Labour spokesman said: “The Labour Party takes all complaints of abuse and discrimination extremely seriously.

“Any complaints are fully investigated and any appropriate disciplinary action taken in line with our rules and procedures.”

In a statement, Mr McKenzie said the tweets had been “taken out of context.” He explained at length what Isis do to women of various ages.

He said: “Emily Thornberry is at an age at which she would be selected by Isis to be killed. I said so. I stated a fact that is disputed by no-one. I did not advocate, nor joke about, Emily Thornberry’s killing, but the very opposite. My tweet was a deadly serious condemnation.”

Mr McKenzie led a campaign that recently resulted in Janet Daby being selected to contest the forthcoming Lewisham by-election after sitting MP Heidi Alexander resigned earlier this month to move to City Hall.

Before his suspension, Mr McKenzie taunted supporters of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn over Ms Daby’s selection in preference to Momentum-backed rival Sakina Sheikh and Unite-backed Claudia Webbe.

He wrote: “We humiliated [Momentum and Unite] and I’m allowed a few hours to crow about it over a cup of tea before going out canvassing to beat the Tories and Libs, again.”

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