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Labour MP Kim Johnson has apologised “unreservedly” after she referred to the Israeli government as “fascist” in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
The MP for Liverpool Riverside made the comments about the Israeli government and referred to the country as an “apartheid state” in the House of Commons on Wednesday.
It is understood that Labour leader Keir Starmer’s office contacted Johnson in relation to the comments, which she has now formally withdrawn using a Commons point of order.
Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions earlier today, Johnson said: “Since the election of the fascist Israeli government in December last year, there has been an increase in human rights violations against Palestinian civilians, including children.
“Can the Prime Minister tell us how he is challenging what Amnesty and other human rights organisations are referring to as an apartheid state?”
Rishi Sunak responded had that Johnson had “failed to mention the horrific attacks on civilians inside Israel as well”.
“It is important in this matter to remain calm and urge all sides to strive for peace, and that is very much what I will do as Prime Minister and in the conversations that I have had with the Israeli prime minister,” he added.
Labour MP Margaret Hodge described Johnson’s comment as “unacceptable & dangerous”.
“With violence escalating in recent weeks, this careless remark only makes it harder to bridge the divide,” she added.
In the subsequent point of order this afternoon, Johnson said: “I would like to apologise unreservedly for the intemperate language that I used during PMQs.
🔴 Labour MP Kim Johnson apologised for her comment calling the Israeli government “fascist” and describing it as an “apartheid state” pic.twitter.com/QOiClTWb19
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“I was wrong to use the term ‘fascist’ in relation to the Israeli government and understand why this was particularly insensitive given the history of the state of Israel.
“And while there are far-right elements in the government, I recognise that the use of the term in this context was wrong.
“I would also like to apologise for the use of the term ‘apartheid state’,” she added, explaining that she was quoting a description used by a third party.
Speaking after PMQ’s, Startmer’s spokesperson had called on Johnson to withdraw her “unacceptable” comments.
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