A Labour councillor has stepped down from her housing role after pictures of her holding a banner saying Israel is racist were published.
Nikkie Brennan was appointed as deputy housing chair in May last year, shortly after being elected on a Momentum slate to represent East Brighton.
It was already well known in local Labour circles that she had taken part in the protest outside Hove Town Hall the previous autumn when councillors, including now council leader Nancy Platts, voted to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) full definition of anti-Semitism.
She is pictured standing alongside notorious anti-Israel campaigner Tony Greenstein, who was kicked out of the party for abusing fellow members and using anti-Semitic language.
The issue was being hotly debated in Labour at the time, as the party had indicated it was planning on leaving out the part which said that calling Israel racist was an example of anti-Semitism.
In a statement, Councillor Brennan said: “I am deeply sorry for the pain this has caused to the Jewish community and I sincerely regret campaigning in this way.
“This happened two years ago, before I was a councillor. At the time I was not as knowledgeable about the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism as I am now.
“I do not seek to excuse my actions.
“I have referred myself to the Labour Party and will fully co-operate with any investigation and have stepped aside from my role as deputy chair of housing and lead for homelessness and rough sleeping, pending its outcome.”
A Labour Party spokesperson said: “The Labour Party takes all complaints of antisemitism extremely seriously and they are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures, and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken.”
Euan Philipps, spokesperson for Labour Against Antisemitism, said: “The Labour group on Brighton City Council has apparently long had difficulties with allegations that some of its members have promoted antisemitic views.
“These views are reportedly equally typical of a substantial part of the local Labour Party membership.
“We trust Nancy Platts, the Labour leader of the council, will adhere to the IHRA definition of antisemitism (as adopted by Brighton City Council) and take the appropriate disciplinary action.”
Images of Councillor Brennan were circulated amongst local Labour figures following her election last May, and Brighton and Hove News asked her then whether she still opposed the part of the IHRA definition she had campaigned against.
She did not reply, and the following week was appointed as the council’s deputy chair of housing.
It’s believed her decision to step down this week came after the Daily Mail approached her saying they were planning on publishing the photographs. Although the Mail didn’t run the story, The Argus published the pictures today.
Brighton and Hove News understands two other members of the October 2018 demo were also selected as candidates for last May’s elections – Juan Baeza and Denise Friend.
While deputy chair, Councillor Brennan was a supporter of the Save the Valley Social Club campaign, which is spearheaded by two former Labour members who were suspended for alleged anti-Semitism.
Daniel Harris was suspended in 2017 after posting a video with the heads of three Labour councillors superimposed onto dancing rabbis.
Amanda Bishop was suspended last April after calling for a march to Hove synagogue to protest against the suspension of candidate Alex Braithwaite for posting anti-Israel conspiracy theories online.
The campaign called on the council to reverse its decision to buy the Whitehawk community centre and build social housing there – a decision she had voted in favour of.
Councillor Brennan has not been at a council meeting since January.