Election candidate Neil Ploughman sorry for 'anti-Semitic' posts

Image caption,
The elections for Amber Valley District Council take place on 2 May

An election candidate who has been suspended from the Labour party over alleged anti-Semitism has apologised for "insensitive" social media posts.

The Times reported that Neil Ploughman, a candidate for Amber Valley District Council elections, said anti-Semitism was "anything Israel wants it to mean".

Labour said he had been suspended "pending a thorough investigation".

In a statement Mr Ploughman apologised and said he has been "a lifelong campaigner against racism".

"It pains me that anybody should believe I was trying to deliberately minimise the pernicious and cancerous nature of anti-Semitism," he said.

"I am devastated that I have managed to get this so wrong."

Before the comments on social media were highlighted, Mr Ploughman was standing for Labour in Belper Central at the elections taking place on 2 May.

On an election leaflet he was also listed as the chairman of Unison's Derbyshire branch.

While he has been suspended from the party, a Labour spokesman said that because the nomination period for candidates has closed he will remain on the ballot paper.

Unison previously said Mr Ploughman was no longer a member, but the trade union has since admitted it made an error.

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