A COUNCILLOR who shared an ‘anti-Semitic’ cartoon on social media has been suspended from the Labour Party.

Mike Cahill, a West Oxfordshire district councillor for the Chipping Norton ward, is now sitting as an independent.

Mr Cahill shared a post on Facebook, which he has since deleted, containing the ‘anti-Semitic’ cartoon.

Councillors were emailed to inform them Mr Cahill ‘no longer wishes to be treated as a member of the Labour Party and he will sit as independent’.

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Speaking to the Oxford Mail, Mr Cahill said: “I’m under administrative suspension from the Labour party, meaning they’re investigating a dispute against me.

“I posted using my phone an extensive quote from Albert Einstein complaining what was happening to the Palestinians in 1948.

“Where it went wrong was that when I posted the link to this article, apparently there was also a cartoon, which rightly so, was regarded as offensive.

“I was told about it by my brother-in-law so I immediately posted an apology and explained I didn’t intend to do this. I then took the post down.

'Out of character'

“In the meantime, I became aware that someone had made an allegation for anti-Semitism.

“The mistake was mine, nobody else’s. It’s pretty obvious that anybody who knows me knows it was out of character.”

In a post since deleted on Facebook, Mr Cahill apologised for sharing the cartoon.

The post read: “On visiting the page later, I discovered the cartoon, offensive in its presentation of racial stereotypes.

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“That is why the post as a whole has been removed and I apologise again to those whom I have offended.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Labour Party said any complaints will be fully investigated, and appropriate action taken.

The spokesperson said: “The Labour Party takes all complaints of anti-Semitism extremely seriously and they are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures, and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken.”

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Further, the spokesperson said that individual cases cannot be commented on, due to disciplinary procedures being confidential.

A spokesperson for West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC) said that no complaints had been made to the council’s monitoring officer, Keith Butler, whose duty it is to ensure that the council, its officers, and its councillors, maintain the highest standards of conduct.

Mr Cahill was elected to WODC in May 2019, and is a member of four of its committees.

In April 2019, district councillor Merilyn Davies resigned from the Labour Party after labelling it ‘institutionally anti-Semitic’.

She said at the time: “I believe the Labour Party is now institutionally anti-Semitic. It is not just those who generate it who are to blame but those that stand by silent while they do.”

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