UK Labour figure attended event held by group accused of extremism

Simon Foster took part in a webinar organised by Muslim Engagement and Development

Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer speaks during the public health debate centred around the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at the House of Commons in London, Britain, November 4, 2020. UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via REUTERS  THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. IMAGE MUST NOT BE ALTERED
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A UK Labour candidate for a top regional police job appeared at an event organised by a group previously accused of anti-Semitism, only days after a landmark inquiry found his party failed to deal with anti-Jewish hate.

Simon Foster, who is running for the role of police and crime commissioner in the West Midlands, took part in a webinar on Tuesday organised by Muslim Engagement and Development, or Mend, to discuss Islamophobia.

“Thank you [Mend] for the invitation and opportunity to speak at your launch of Islamophobia Awareness Month. It was great to share a panel with such an eclectic group of speakers. Best wishes with all the events you and others have planned during IAM,” Mr Foster wrote on Twitter.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews previously described Mend as a “highly problematic organisation whose activity risks increasing hostility and suspicion between the Jewish and Muslim communities, rather than building trust and empathy”.

Mend denies claims it is anti-Semitic.

The Labour Party and Mr Foster have been approached for comment.

Last week, Labour’s new leader, Sir Keir Starmer, spoke about a “day of shame” after a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission found historic evidence of anti-Semitism within sections of the party.

Former leader Jeremy Corbyn was suspended from the party after he refused to accept all of the EHRC’s findings, which said his office had broken the law in failing to handle complaints related to anti-Semitism.