Labour Candidate Removed for Sharing RT Content in 2018

The shadow chancellor says a party member was kicked out for “not sharing our values”

The UK Labour Party has suspended one of its parliamentary candidates just two weeks before the general election. This decision comes after senior members became aware of content shared on his social media six years ago. The content appears to have come from RT, a Russian state-funded media outlet.

Andy Brown is campaigning to represent the Aberdeenshire North and Moray East constituency in northeast Scotland. The party’s decision to remove him was reported on Tuesday by The Press and Journal, a local newspaper, and has since become a national news story.

The posts that led to Brown’s suspension relate to the 2018 Salisbury poisoning case, which the British government claimed to be a Russian assassination attempt on Sergey Skripal, a defector spy. Brown reportedly shared a link to an RT article questioning London’s narrative, as well as a social media post suggesting that then-prime minister Theresa May was withholding vital information about the incident.

Brown has claimed in an interview with the BBC that he did not share the posts, and that his account “may have been corrupted at some point.” He denied that he may have forgotten sharing them.

Labour Party leaders were also “spooked” by another post apparently shared by Brown, which questioned claims that anti-Semitism was widespread in the Labour Party, the Scottish newspaper said. This allegation played a significant role in the removal of Jeremy Corbyn, a vocal pro-Palestinian figure, as Labour party leader. Corbyn’s parliamentary whip was later removed by his successor, Keir Starmer, effectively expelling him from the party.

Commenting on the Andy Brown case, Labour’s shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves told Sky News on Wednesday: “I hadn’t heard of this guy until this morning, and I’m very, very pleased that I will hopefully not have to hear of him again because he’s been suspended as a Labour candidate.” She added that unlike Corbyn, Starmer takes “swift action when people misbehave”.

“People who do not share our values in the changed Labour Party get kicked out,” Reeves stressed.

Although he has been deselected, Brown can still stand as a candidate for the election on July 4. Paper ballots will still carry his original description and a Labour logo, according to the British press. If elected, he will be an independent MP – not unlike Corbyn, who is running to represent the constituency of Islington North.

The UK banned RT from broadcasting in March 2022, after the Ukraine conflict escalated into open hostilities.