The Labour activist who was suspended from the party after he grabbed headlines for heckling a Jewish Labour MP at an anti-Semitism event has insisted he was “set-up”.
In June, Stoke-on-Trent Ruth MP Smeeth walked out of a speech by Jeremy Corbyn after Momentum supporter Marc Wadsworth accused her of working “hand-in-hand” with the Daily Telegraph to damage the Labour leader.
Smeeth said Wadsworth had targeted her with “vile conspiracy theories about Jewish people” during the anti-Semitism event.
But Wadsworth said on Thursday evening “Smeethgate” was a “non-story” that “should be known ‘smeargate’ because I was smeared”.
“I was immediately expelled form the party for daring to challenge a right-wing Labour MP who was consorting with the Daily Telegraph.”
Wadsworth was speaking at a rally at UCL in central-London called to debate the charge that the media is biased against Corbyn.
He said: “Support online and from people writing in was overwhelmingly in favor of my stand, from Jewish and non Jewish people.
“Pity that that wasn’t then reflected in the newspapers. But that was a non-story really. I didn’t mention anything to do with Jewish people or anti-Semitism. Yet I was called by Ruth Smeeth a ‘vile anti-Semite’ in what was effectively a set up.
He added: “I was told by George Galloway if it hadn’t been me that day it would have been someone else. I was collateral damage.”
Ruth Smeeth walks out of anti-Semitism event:
Following the event in June, Smeeth called for Corbyn to step down as Labour leader as “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 of Wadsworth “people like this have no place in our party or our movement and must be opposed”.
Wadsworth had distributed a leaflet at the event which branded MPs trying to unseat Corbyn as “traitors”.
Earlier this month, Smeeth revealed she had received 25,000 pieces of abuse since the end of June alone - with 20,000 coming in just one 12-hour period.