POLITICS

Jeremy Corbyn Has Made Labour 'Unsafe For Jews,' Says MP Ruth Smeeth

MP subjected to 'anti-Semitic slurs' at Labour anti-Semitism event

30/06/2016 14:43 | Updated 30 June 2016
Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Jeremy Corbyn should resign because Labour is not a "safe space for British Jews" with him as leader, a Jewish Labour MP has said.

Ruth Smeeth this morning left a Labour anti-Semitism event after being accused by a Momentum activist of working "hand-in-hand" with the media to damage Corbyn.

Momentum is the pro-Corbyn pressure group set up to defend his leadership of the party. Activist Marc Wadswoth had distributed a leaflet at the event which branded MPs trying to unseat Corbyn as “traitors”. 

Sky News

The Stoke-on-Trent North MP said in a statement this afternoon Corbyn had "stood by" and done "absolutely nothing" as she was subjected to "anti-Semitic slurs".

"People like this have no place in our party or our movement and must be opposed. Until today I had made no public comment about Jeremy’s ability to lead our party, but the fact that he failed to intervene is final proof for me that he is unfit to lead, and that a Labour Party under his stewardship cannot be a safe space for British Jews," she said.

"No-one from the Leader’s office has contacted me since the event, which is itself a catastrophic failure of leadership. I call on Jeremy Corbyn to resign immediately and make way for someone with the backbone to confront racism and antisemitism in our party and in the country."

The scene unfolded as Wadswoth defended not giving a copy of a press release which attacked "troublemaking careerist Labour MPs".

“I saw the Telegraph handed a copy of a press release to Ruth Smeeth MP, you can see who is working hand-in-hand,” he said.

The comment was met with heckles in the room and shouts of "how dare you". Smeeth left the room.

Corbyn had moments earlier said there was no place for the suggestion Jewish people were part of any “media conspiracy”.

He had also earlier tweeted that MPs should not be subject to personal abuse. 

Asked about the description of MPs as “traitors” by Momentum, the group that supports his leadership of Labour, Corbyn said he wanted “no abuse, no name calling, none of that kind of behavior.” He added: “I don’t like the use of the world traitor."

Labour MP Wes Streeting tweeted of Corbyn: “You sat there and watched our colleague Ruth Smeeth abused at a Labour event this morning. Your words are hollow."

Labour Friends of Israel said it was “unbelievable that a Jewish MP would be the victim of anti-Semitic tropes at the launch of an anti-Semitism report”. 

Angela Eagle has delayed mounting a bid to unseat Corbyn. A source close to the former shadow business secretary told The Huffington Post UK: "There’s still time for Jeremy to back down. And see sense."

Ruth Smeeth's Statement In Full

"This morning, at the launch of the Chakrabarti Inquiry into antisemitism, I was verbally attacked by a Momentum activist and Jeremy Corbyn supporter who used traditional antisemitic slurs to attack me for being part of a 'media conspiracy'. It is beyond belief that someone could come to the launch of a report on antisemitism in the Labour Party and espouse such vile conspiracy theories about Jewish people, which were ironically highlighted as such in Ms Chakrabarti's report, while the leader of my own party stood by and did absolutely nothing."

"People like this have no place in our party or our movement and must be opposed. Until today I had made no public comment about Jeremy’s ability to lead our party, but the fact that he failed to intervene is final proof for me that he is unfit to lead, and that a Labour Party under his stewardship cannot be a safe space for British Jews.  I have written to the General Secretary of the Labour Party and the Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party to formally complain about this morning’s events."

"No-one from the Leader’s office has contacted me since the event, which is itself a catastrophic failure of leadership. I call on Jeremy Corbyn to resign immediately and make way for someone with the backbone to confront racism and antisemitism in our party and in the country."

Suggest a correction
183 Comments

CONVERSATIONS