The Conservative deputy leader of Elstree and Borehamwood Town Council has been forced to apologise to a Labour election candidate she likened to Hitler.
Cllr Sandra Parnell wrote on her Facebook page that Labour’s Dr Dan Ozarow, who is Jewish, was ‘the worst anti-Semite’ during February’s Borehamwood Kenilworth election campaign.
The apology followed a letter from leading libel lawyers, Carter Ruck, in which Cllr Parnell was warned that the post was untrue and highly defamatory. As part of the settlement agreement, Parnell agreed to pay an undisclosed sum to the Holocaust Education Trust.
Despite Parnell’s Facebook profile clearing stating ‘Cllr Sandra Parnell’ and claiming her leadership of Elstree & Borehamwood Town Council, the Council has refused to distance itself from her comments, claiming that they were made in an “individual capacity”.
Said Town Council Labour Group Leader and former Mayor, Cllr Richard Butler: “It was there for all to see that she was a Town councillor and making these comments has undoubtedly brought the Council into disrepute.”
Acting for Dr Ozarow, Carter Ruck also issued a letter to the Conservative candidate Brett Rosehill warning him about extremely serious allegations in a leaflet which were presented in a highly misleading way and were untrue and unjustified.
Both Rosehill and Hertsmere Conservatives were issued with a warning that their actions during the election campaign were libellous and a potential violation of electoral law.
Carter Ruck demanded that the Conservatives abstained from publishing or repeating false allegations and from behaving in a way that constituted harassment of Dr Ozarow or of other local Jewish Labour members or councillors.
Following the threat of a further libel suit against the Conservative Party candidate’s wife Romy Rosehill, she also took down a defamatory post about Dr Ozarow which she published on Facebook on election day.
Said Dr Ozarow: “The smear campaign and anti-Semitic hatred that my family and I suffered brought us great distress and was very hurtful. I am pleased that Cllr Parnell has acknowledged her wrongdoing and that Ms Rosehill has removed the false allegation she made about me.”
“Many people in Borehamwood contacted me after the election to say that they were angry with Hertsmere Conservatives for having deceived them into voting for their candidate based on a number of defamatory smears.”
He continued: “Jewish people who were thinking of standing for two opposition parties have told me that they now fear doing so because of the pattern of abuse that Jewish candidates have suffered in the last three local elections and the anti-Semitism I experienced. This upsets me deeply. Jews should never be hounded out of public life just because of their background.”
A police investigation continues into the election campaign where Dr Ozarow was variously labelled as a self-hating and disgusting Jew, a supporter of Hezbollah and told to go to the gas chambers.