A MERSEYSIDE Labour councillor has been suspended after a speech in which she told a “joke” about “Jew process”, before adapting a poem about the Holocaust.

Wirral Cllr Jo Bird, who is Jewish, was reported to her party on Monday after the speech, in which she spoke about Labour activists such as former member Marc Wadsworth – who was expelled last year for behaviour deemed “grossly detrimental”.

Both a recording of a speech leaked to the Jewish Chronicle from a meeting last year and a blog written by Cllr Bird for Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) struck a similar tone on the issue, mentioning Labour members such as Mr Wadsworth and former London Mayor Ken Livingstone.

Mr Wadsworth was expelled after a confrontation with Labour MP Ruth Smeeth in 2016.

In the JVL blog, she called his expulsion “unfair”, and said “due process” should be known as “Jew process”.

It is understood Cllr Bird has been suspended by the party, pending investigation.

A Labour spokeswoman said: “The Labour Party takes all complaints of antisemitism extremely seriously and we are committed to challenging and campaigning against it in all its forms. All complaints about antisemitism are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken.”

Cllr Bird’s article written last May – months before Cllr Bird was elected as a councillor for Bromborough in August – said: “JVL is campaigning with others to overturn Marc Wadsworth’s unfair expulsion, clear his name and to defend Jackie Walker (who is black and Jewish) and others earmarked for the next phase in expulsions.”JVL is calling for disciplinary hearings to be paused until a due process has been established based on principles of natural justice. What I call Jew process.”

Speaking on Monday, Cllr Bird said: “I am sorry for any offence caused by my play on words – that was not my intention.”

The recording published by the Jewish Chronicle was taken at the Justice4Marc meeting last year – one of the events held in support of reinstating Mr Wadsworth to the Labour Party. In it, those present are heard laughing and clapping at both her statement, and another from MP Chris Williamson.

Mr Williamson was suspended by Labour last week after saying the party had become “too apologetic” about antisemitism, and he too has come under fire for the new recording, in which he appears to say “certain dark forces” are at work to undermine Jeremy Corbyn using their “power” and “contacts in the media”.

Cllr Bird’s article on the JVL website continued: “One thing that worries me is the privileging of racism against Jews as more worthy of resources than other forms of discrimination such as against black people, Muslim people and people who have crossed borders to this country. These abuses of power are measured in detentions, deportations and deaths – so lets have a sense of proportion and perspective in the current situation.

“Every type of racism is different and needs a time and a place for discussion. And privileging one group over another group is divisive. It’s bad for the many as well as the Jews.”

Cllr Bird has been criticised by Countdown star Rachel Riley, who has been very vocal about the issue of antisemitism in the Labour Party in recent months.Ms Riley said: “Notice the laughter and applause to these stomach turning comments, and then tell me there’s no institutional problem of antisemitism in the Labour Party. It’s beyond a joke and it’s deeply worrying.”

Cllr Bird has also come under fire for another part of the recording released by the Jewish Chronicle, in which she adapted the famous ‘First they came…’ poem by German theologian and Lutheran pastor Martin Niemoller.

She is heard saying: “They came for the anti-zionists, and I stood up because I was not a target, I stood up in solidarity. And then they came for the socialists but they couldn’t get us because we were having a party, the Labour Party.”

Slamming the comments on social media, Ms Riley tweeted: “Absolutely aghast listening to JVL’s Jo Bird, take a poem about the Holocaust, remove the Jews, to replace them with persecution of anti-racists and anti-Zionists. Sickening.”