Ian Mckenzie, political advisor to Newham mayor, steps down over derogotary Islamic State tweets about shadow home secretary Emily Thornberry
- Credit: Archant
The mayor of Newham’s political advisor has stepped down over derogotary tweets he wrote about the shadow home secretary.
Ian Mckenzie helped Rokhsana Fiaz to win the mayoral election, and has been providing her with policy support for the past three weeks.
His tweets, which were written between December 2015 and January 2016, claimed that Islington South and Finsbury MP Emily Thornberry was “too old” to be made a sex slave by the Islamic State terrorist group, also known as ISIS or IS.
He also tweeted: “They’ll behead her and dump her in a mass grave.”
Mr Mckenzie has also been running the Labour branch of Lewisham East ahead of the local by-election. He’s been suspended from this role pending investigation.
In a letter to her Labour colleagues, Ms Fiaz wrote: “In the last 24 hours there has been a lot of commentary on social media about Ian Mckenzie – who the council commissioned to provide external policy support for me on an external basis.
“In light of today’s developments, Ian has decided to step down from his role. I have accepted his decision as being the right one in this instance. I want to take this opportunity to thank Ian for the support and advice he has provided to me.”
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Mr Mckenzie discovered he was suspended from the Labour Party this morning by email, although he claimed journalists had already been briefed.
In a later statement to the Huffington Post, Mr Mckenzie defended his tweets, saying they were taken out of context. He said: “I sought to show the absurdity of negotiating with these murderous misogynistic barbarians [ISIS]. I wasn’t advocating sex slavery, but condemning it.
“I hope that this unfortunate conflagration can be swiftly ended and that I may be able to go back to doing what I do best: asking people to vote Labour.”
The woman to whom the tweets were directed has also come forward to defend him, agreeing his statements were a comment on the violent misogny of IS.
A Labour Party spokesman said: “The Labour Party takes all complaints of abuse and discrimination extremely seriously. Any complaints are fully investigated and any appropriate disciplinary action taken in line with our rules and procedures.”