Former MP Ruth Smeeth takes seat in Lords

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Former MP Ruth Smeeth takes seat in Lords

The Jewish ex-MP, who had held the seat since 2015, was a vocal critic of Mr Corbyn over antisemitism.

Ruth Smeeth in the Houses of Parliament in Westminster.
Ruth Smeeth in the Houses of Parliament in Westminster.

Former Labour MP Ruth Smeeth has taken her seat on the red benches in the House of Lords.

Smeeth lost the one-time Labour stronghold of Stoke-on-Trent North when the so-called “red wall” crumbled at the 2019 election in the party’s worst result in more than 80 years under then leader Jeremy Corbyn.

The Jewish ex-MP, who had held the seat since 2015, was a vocal critic of Mr Corbyn over antisemitism.

The 43-year-old, who is currently chief executive of the free speech campaign group Index On Censorship, was nominated to the unelected chamber by current Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and takes the title Baroness Anderson of Stoke-on-Trent.

Smeeth, who was famously escorted by 50 Labour colleagues past a baying mob of Jeremy Corbyn supporters at a 2018 hearing on antisemitism in the party – said she was “delighted” when Sir Keir Starmer included her name on his recent list of nominations for peerages.

But she revealed continued threats to her safety have led to her ruling out standing as a Labour candidate at the general election, saying of the move into the Lords: “This is the safest way back for me.”

Smeeth, a vice-chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, had previously spoken out on the antisemtic threats she had received, including a letter threatening to murder her at her former constituency office, from both far-left and far-right racists after she openly challenged ex-Labour leader Corbyn’s failure to tackle the crisis.

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