POLITICS
27/04/2018 12:52 BST | Updated 27/04/2018 16:35 BST

Labour Expel Activist Marc Wadsworth Over Anti-Semitism Row

He had launched a tirade at Jewish MP Ruth Smeeth.

Labour has expelled the party activist who was accused of anti-Semtism for launching a verbal tirade against Jewish MP Ruth Smeeth.

Marc Wadsworth was kicked out of the party on Friday afternoon for his behaviour at the launch of the Chakrabarti report into anti-Semitism nearly two years ago. 

Welcoming the ruling from Labour’s National Constitutional Committee, Smeeth said she hoped it would be the “first step towards a return to the values of decency and respect throughout” the party.

But Wadsworth said he had been the victim of a “purge” and questioned the process used against him.

He accused the “gang of white MPs” who supported Smeeth of “bullying” by turning up with her at the hearing.

Wadsworth, who said he and Jeremy Corbyn were “old friends and comrades”, claimed the Labour leader “doesn’t see that I did anything wrong”.

And he claimed someone from Corbyn’s office had called him to tell him “what I said wasn’t anti-Semitic”.

Stefan Rousseau - PA Images via Getty Images
Labour MPs Ruth Smeeth (left), Luciana Berger (centre) and Jess Philllips (right) at a demonstration outside the Labour party disciplinary hearing for Marc Wadsworth.

In 2016 Smeeth felt she had to leave the launch event of the Chakrabarti report into tackling racism within Labour after Wadsworth accused her of working “hand-in-hand” with the Daily Telegraph to damage Jeremy Corbyn.

Accusations that Jewish people are part of a media conspiracy are a traditional anti-Semitic attack.

Dozens of Labour MPs and peers rallied around Smeeth on Wednesday as she attended the hearing in Westminster in the face of protesters defending Wadsworth.

In a statement today, she said: “I welcome the outcome of this investigation and am relieved that after nearly two years this matter has finally been resolved.

“I am incredibly grateful for the support I have received throughout this ordeal from my friends and colleagues. I would also like to pay tribute to the hard work and professionalism of Labour Party staff who have had to deal with this case and many others, often in the face of vicious criticism. 

“Abuse, bullying and intimidation have no place in our movement, as today’s announcement has proven. I hope that this decision represents the first step towards a return to the values of decency and respect throughout the Labour Party.”

The Jewish Labour Movement welcomed the decision of the NCC and said Corbyn now needed to take “sustained action” against other activists accused of ant-Semitism including Ken Livingstone.

But Labour MP Chris Williamson, an ally of Corbyn, said Wadsworth had been “besmirched” by the “absurd” NCC ruling.

One former Labour staff member has sent a letter, seen by HuffPost UK, to Jennie Formby, Labour’s general secretary, to demand Williamson be suspended by the party for “undermining the impartiality of the NCC”.

Smeeth was one of many MPs who used a parliamentary debate last week on tackling anti-Semitism to highlight the abuse she receives.

She told the Commons: “My fan base has shown scant regard for appropriate parliamentary language so I apologise in advance, ‘hang yourself you vile treacherous Zionist Tory filth, you’re a cancer of humanity’, ‘Ruth Smeeth is a Zionist she has no shame and trades on the murder of Jews by Hitler who the Zionists betrayed’, ‘Ruth Smeeth must surely be travelling first class to Tel Aviv with all that slush, after all she’s complicit in trying to bring Corbyn down’.”

Today’s ruling comes amid claims Corbyn has failed to crack down hard enough on anti-Semitism within the party.

Also today, Ann Black was elected as chair of Labour’s National Policy Forum. A move which will be seen as a victory for the centrist section of the party.