YOUNG VOICES

Bethany Barker, Labour Student Who Introduced Jeremy Corbyn At Election Launch, Resigns Over Racist Tweets

The messages were posted between 2012 and 2014.

09/05/2017 17:12 BST | Updated 10/05/2017 12:28 BST

A young Labour activist who introduced Jeremy Corbyn at his local election launch in Newark last month has resigned over a series of racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic tweets. 

Undergraduate Bethany Barker stepped down as general secretary of Nottingham Labour Students on Tuesday after it emerged she had posted a number of offensive messages on social media between 2012 and 2014. 

In a tweet sent in 2013, Barker said she was “supporting the n***** race” by cooking chicken and rice, while she called someone a “f*****” and referred to a “Jew cap” in other messages.  

Bethany Barker
Labour student Bethany Barker has resigned from her student group after a series of offensive tweets came to light

She wrote in another tweet: “I hate BBC one, fucking c***s black fucking bitch I hate everyone #mayday”. 

In a statement on her Facebook page, Barker said she was “appalled and ashamed” of her comments and extended her “sincerest apologies to anyone that I have offended”. 

The 19-year-old wrote: “These views are clearly not in line with what I believe today and do not reflect my character.

“I have grown up, developed and matured a lot since I was 14 years-old to the point where, looking back, I find it hard to recognise that person as myself.

“I am proud of how far I have come since then and will do everything in my power to make amends for the mistakes that I have made.” 

Bloomberg via Getty Images
Barker introduced Jeremy Corbyn at his local election launch in Newark last month

Barker, a history and politics student, added: “We live in an age where any ounce of scandal is seized upon and removed from its context.

“I only ask that you consider what I have said and do not cast me aside for the mistakes I made when I was a child.” 

Nottingham Labour Students has condemned Barker’s tweets. 

Jacob Collier, chair of the group, said in a statement: “Be assured that Nottingham Labour Students holds the welfare of its members and wider university community of paramount importance.” 

He continued: “We reiterate that these comments are not reflective of Nottingham Labour Students members and we will do everything as a committee to ensure that our society is an inclusive and welcoming place for everyone regardless of their background, ability, age, ethnicity, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.” 

The incident follows a series of anti-Semitism scandals within Labour.

Last month, former London mayor Ken Livingstone was suspended from the party after he said Hitler “was supporting Zionism” before the Holocaust.