Labour frontbencher Rebecca Long-Bailey sacked in anti-semitism row

Labour shadow Education Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey has been sacked by party leader Sir Keir Starmer after she she was accused of promoting an anti-semitic conspiracy theory.

Rebecca Long-Bailey has been sacked from the shadow cabinet by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer after sharing an article containing an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory
Rebecca Long-Bailey has been sacked from the shadow cabinet by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer after sharing an article containing an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory

Ms Long-Bailey retweeted an interview with the actress Maxine Peake which included the claim that US police officers who killed unarmed black man George Floyd used training provided by the Israeli secret service.

A spokesperson for Mr Starmer said: “This afternoon Keir Starmer asked Rebecca Long-Bailey to step down from the Shadow Cabinet.

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“The article Rebecca shared earlier today contained an antisemitic conspiracy theory. As Leader of the Labour Party, Keir has been clear that restoring trust with the Jewish community is a number one priority.

“Antisemitism takes many different forms and it is important that we all are vigilant against it.”

In the interview with the Independent website, Ms Peake states that “systemic racism is a global issue.

“The tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, that was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services.”

The article includes a denial from a spokesperson for Israeli police, stating that “there is no tactic or protocol that calls to put pressure on the neck or airway”.

Ms Long-Bailey, who ran against Mr Starmer for the Labour leadership, posted a link to the interview on twitter with the message: “Maxine Peake is an absolute diamond”.

She later added: “I retweeted Maxine Peake’s article because of her significant achievements and because the thrust of her argument is to stay in the Labour Party.

“It wasn’t intended to be an endorsement of all aspects of the article.”

The Labour Against Anti-semitism (LAAS) campaign had called for Ms Long-Bailey’s resignation.

“Rebecca Long-Bailey’s decision to promote an interview in which the actor Maxine Peake made an apparently antisemitic statement, and her later response following widespread condemnation, is unacceptable,” spokesman Euan Philipps said.

“She should resign from her front bench role as Shadow Education Secretary, and if she refuses to do so Sir Keir Starmer should sack her.”

Mr Philipps added: “The Labour Party is apparently trying to show the Jewish community and the wider electorate that it has moved on from the institutional anti-Jewish racism of the last five years.

“To prove that there is substance to those efforts, Ms Long-Bailey’s actions demand a strong, swift and decisive response.”

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