Jewish Chronicle’s 2nd false claim re Liverpool Labour in c.24hrs

Jewish Chronicle writer publishes a second false claim about Liverpool Labour in a period of only about 24 hours

Liverpool University (image: University of Liverpool)

As the SKWAWKBOX showed earlier today, the Jewish Chronicle (JC) published a false claim yesterday that antisemitic comments had been posted in the Facebook group of Walton constituency Labour party (CLP) in Liverpool.

The claims were entirely false – but the JC only published a ‘clarification’ this morning after pressure from the CLP and an enquiry by the SKWAWKBOX and even then did not apologise or publicise its correction outside a footnote in the article.

Now the same publication has made another false claim about a Liverpool Labour member – and has again behaved poorly after the falsehood was pointed out, in spite of repeated requests from the University of Liverpool.

Dr Alex Scott-Samuel, who is Jewish, is a registered-blind Labour member who serves in an entirely voluntary capacity as Chair of Wavertree CLP in Liverpool. Before their withdrawal by the members who submitted them, the CLP was due to debate two motions of no confidence in Wavertree MP Luciana Berger.

Around noon today, the JC published a claim that Dr Scott-Samuel had been sacked by Liverpool University because interviews he gave to a third party were broadcast by right-wing conspiracy theorist David Icke:

Again the claims were seized on by well-known social media ‘troll’ accounts to attack Labour.

But – again – this is entirely fake news – Scott-Samuel retired from the university more than three years ago and is not employed there.

The new version

The publication subsequently updated its article to a new version – one claiming that the university had ‘rushed’ to clarify its relationship with the retired academic, stating that he:

no longer works at the University of Liverpool, the institution has rushed to clarify after he appeared on the programme in that capacity.

The tweets

Lee Harpin, the author of the article, shared a tweet stating that the university had ‘distanced itself’ from Dr Scott-Samuel:

But the university told the SKWAWKBOX that this was untrue. On the contrary, the institution said it is working to put in place measures to support the retired doctor.

A press spokesperson also made clear that the university had asked the JC ‘at least twice’ to correct its output – but hours later a tweet claiming Scott-Samuel had lost his job was still in author Lee Harpin’s Twitter feed:

The university said it would be taking this up urgently with the publication.

Sources close to the Wavertree chair insist he had no idea who the radio presenter was who called him to ask for interviews on a range of issues, including vaccination and who presented himself as a ‘community radio host’ – nor that he had any links to Icke.

The SKWAWKBOX contacted Lee Harpin for comment but has not received a response.

In spite of its amendments to the article, the JC has not followed usual journalistic practice and has added no note of the changes or the original false headline or content.

A supporter of Luciana Berger has now tabled a motion of no confidence in Dr Scott-Samuel and the rest of the Wavertree ‘exec’, although the motions were not put forward by members of the executive. The meeting will take place at 7pm on Thursday at the Devonshire House Hotel in Liverpool and Wavertree members are encouraged to attend and have their say in the ballot.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

The JC has failed itself and its readers twice now on consecutive days and has done significant damage to the reputations of Labour members in Liverpool.

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