Frontbench dismissal

Starmer axes Long-Bailey in row over antisemitism

Rebecca Long-Bailey: fired over article

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has fired Shadow Education Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey over distribution of an anti-semitic article.

Ms Long-Bailey was removed from the shadow cabinet just weeks after he appointment after she reposted an article that claimed the US policeman that killed George Floyd had learnt the tactics in Israel. 

A spokesman for Sir Keir, who is addressing voters in Scotland today, said: “This afternoon Keir Starmer asked Rebecca Long-Bailey to step down from the Shadow Cabinet. 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.”

Actress Maxine Peake made comments about racism that prompted the objection in an interview published today in The Independent.

She said: “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.”

Maxine Peake with former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at the Edinburgh TV Festival in August 2018 (pic: Terry Murden)

Ms Long-Bailey retweeted the article, adding: “Maxine Peak [sic] is an absolute diamond.”

In a later tweet just before she was fired, Ms Long-Bailey said: “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.”

Ms Long-Bailey was among the contenders to succeed Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader.

Starmer is expected to appoint a new shadow education secretary in the coming days.

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