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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

Banned in UK, Iranian TV station films pro-Israel MP's no-confidence vote 

'Iran has infiltrated the Labour Party', says MP Joan Ryan 

British Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves the British Labour Party headquarters in London. EPA
British Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves the British Labour Party headquarters in London. EPA

Iranian state-backed Press TV has come under fire for filming a local party meeting as it passed a no-confidence vote in the chair of Labour Friends of Israel and Enfield North MP, Joan Ryan.

Labour activists on Friday called for an inquiry into the TV station, which is banned in the UK, saying that filming was not allowed in the room.

“Warnings were issued about filming, including a direct warning to the member in question,” local party chairman, Siddo Dwyer, wrote on Twitter. “It didn’t occur to any of us at the time that they were from a state broadcaster." Mr Dwyer's Twitter account has since been deactivated.

According to The Telegraph, the journalist was able to film the meeting because he had been permitted to join the Labour Party as a member several months ago.

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Roshan Salih, a journalist at Press TV, said there were “no general warnings issued, no posters, no approach to the person we obtained footage from.”

Ms Ryan, whose criticism of Jeremy Corbyn's alleged antisemitism made her unpopular among some Labour members, said the Iranian journalist had targeted her because of her support for the state of Israel.

"I’m horrified that they’ve infiltrated the Labour party in this way and I think it needs to be investigated because it is incredibly serious,” she said in an interview with The Telegraph.

Some party members viewed the pro-Israel MP and her criticism of the Labour leader as a nuisance. However, the vote of no confidence only saw her lose 92 to 94.

"So lost 92 to 94 votes hardly decisive victory and it never occurred to me that Trots Stalinists Communists and assorted hard left would gave confidence in me. I have none in them," she tweeted.

Press TV had its licence revoked by media regulator Ofcom in 2012, citing a breach of broadcasting licence rules over editorial control of the channel and failure to pay a £100,000 fine (Dh474,560). The media regulator also concluded that the editorial decisions on the channel were being controlled by the offices in Tehran, instead of the UK.

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