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Swedish nationalists sack MP accused of anti-Semitic slur

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Swedish nationalists sack MP accused of anti-Semitic slur
The Sweden Democrats have removed Anna Hagwall from the party. Photo: Roger Vikström/TT
16:07 CET+01:00
The anti-immigration Sweden Democrats (SD) have sacked an MP accused of anti-Semitism after she called for a ban on 'ethnic groups' owning more than five percent of the media in the country.

In a press release, SD said that Anna Hagwall had hurt the party’s reputation.

“SD has worked over many years to stop anti-Semitic tendencies and conspiracy theories in society. Through her comments Anna Hagwall has damaged that work and the party’s reputation,” SD leader Jimmie Åkesson wrote in a media statement.

In October, Hagwall put forward a motion to scrap the state subsidies available for newspapers in Sweden in order to stop the Bonnier Group’s “control” of the country’s media.

Sweden’s largest media company, the Bonnier Group owns major titles like Expressen and Dagens Nyheter as well as financial paper Dagens Industri. It owns around 25 percent of the daily newspaper industry in Sweden today, but receives none of the direct press support of 436 million kronor ($50.60 million) handed out to media each year.

The MP’s motion was widely criticized, including from within her own party. Hagwall did even more damage by expanding on the purpose of her motion in an e-mail to Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet, writing:

“No family, ethnic group or company should be allowed to directly/indirectly control more than five percent of the media.”

Her reference to an “ethnic group” was was perceived as an anti-Semitic slur on the Bonnier family, whose ancestor Gerhard Bonnier was Jewish.

Though she has now left her position as a member of Sweden’s parliamentary tax committee, Hagwall does not plan to resign from her role as an MP, despite the leaders of her former party calling for her to do so.

“Anna Hagwall was not voted in individually, but rather, she sits in the Riksdag through SD’s mandate. Now that she no longer represents the party, she should leave her place. That is her duty to members and voters,” Mattias Karlsson, who leads SD in the Riksdag, said in the party’s press release.

Hagwall's removal from SD was decided unanimously by the party's leadership, the party wrote in its statement.

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