Rebecca Long-Bailey’s sacking exposes Labour turmoil over how to tackle anti-Semitism in party
Ms Rebecca Long-Bailey, branded the “continuity Corbyn” candidate in the recent leadership battle, was stood down by leader Sir Keir Starmer after she shared an article on social media which Sir Keir said expressed an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.
In the article, actor Maxine Peake said police linked to the death of George Floyd in the US had learned their tactics from the Israeli secret services. The claim was denied by Israel, and Ms Peake later said it was wrong .
Ms Long-Bailey, who said she did not endorse all aspects of the article, acknowledged that the claim had caused “extreme concern” but said politicians should speak out on issues such as claims of police brutality.
She told the Daily Mirror: “There is a valid concern about police practices across the world and I don’t think that, worded in the right way, it’s racist or anti-Semitic to draw attention to that.”
As leading left-wing figures in the party spoke out about the sacking of Ms Long-Bailey, the Salford and Eccles MP said Sir Keir needed to live up to his leadership campaign promises of bringing Labour together.
Ms Long-Bailey said: “I completely agree with the need for us to intensively rebuild our relationship with the Jewish community and the wider electorate. I can understand the difficulties of Keir’s position.
“Whilst we don’t agree on everything, we agree on the need for a Labour government and I’ll still do everything I possibly can to make sure that happens.
“The only way that we’ll win a general election is by being unified as a party that’s why it’s so important for me to make the choice not to be critical about the way I might have been treated.”