Birmingham & Black Country

Dudley North MP Ian Austin sorry for Holocaust claim

Ian Austin
Image caption Ian Austin made the allegations in a 2011 article

A West Midlands MP has apologised "unreservedly" for suggesting that a Palestinian human rights group had denied the Holocaust happened.

Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA) said Ian Austin, Labour MP for Dudley North, made the reference about the group in an article on the Labour Uncut Website last year.

Ismail Patel, the Chair of FOA, said: "We welcome the apology. It is a tragedy that such a serious allegation was levelled against FOA."

Mr Austin said: "This was an error."

Mr Austin had referred to the "so-called holocaust" which the FOA said referred to material published in the early 1990's before the group was established.

In a statement on the Labour Uncut website , Mr Austin said: "The publication in which this phrase was used was written by someone else, and had nothing to do with the FOA.

"The article had the effect of wrongly labelling FOA as Holocaust deniers and I apologise unreservedly for making this allegation."

'Completely unfounded'

The article has been removed from the Labour Uncut website.

Mr Patel said the apology set the record straight.

He said: "FOA has always reiterated the tragedy of the holocaust in numerous publications and such false allegations are not only unjust but completely unfounded.

"Our work is aimed at bringing peace for all people in the region and false accusations like this must be challenged and routed out.

"FOA plans to continue with its work, and we mark this apology as a victory for all of those seeking dialogue as a first step towards peace in the region."

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