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.
There is NO place whatsoever for people like this in public life. She should resign from the council immediately, not just her cabinet posts. Nancy Platts should demand it. The Labor party should kick her out. Shame, shame, shame.
Is she still being paid as a councillor?
This is utterly sick. So council leader Nancy Platts, Labour chair Jon Rogers and the other momentum lot blighting our city knew she was a racist. Rather than stopping her standing as a councillor they gave her a safe seat and promoted her to a position of power/pay. Astonishing. Surely Platts has to resign given her covering up of this?
There were 2 other candidates who got through the same process who were at that demo. And don’t forget the candidate who was suspended for antisemitism just weeks before the election. Lots of members continued to support her and Rogers issued a statement of support for her. Calls are increasing for a full investigation. At the very least, the officials connected with the selection process should be stood down.
Brighton and Hove Labour Party seems rotten to the core in its anti Jewish hatred and it’s obsessed fixation on a foreign state, Israel…why not focus instead on cleaning our filthy streets, reducing rough sleeping in the city centre, and enforcing laws against the massive anti social behaviour we witness every day and night in the city?
She should stand down as a Councillor immediately as she clearly campaigned against the adoption of the definition which is now Council policy. Any Labour party member who cant abide by the IHRA definition should quit the party as the party has adopted it in full.
And a genuine suggestion for Peter Kyle – maybe the Brighton and Hove Labour Party as a whole should be disbanded by the national party/NEC, all the racists cleared out, and after a period (a year I think) then reconstituted and regularly subject to national party monitoring for another period to ensure it is racism free, and also free of the obsessives and extremists who seem to be the vast majority of its members
..then the party should exclusively focus on LOCAL issues, ASB, Clean streets, libraries, local environment…you know, things they can actually do something about and the reason for local politics in the first place! Over to you Mr Kyle…