Labour ‘cannot be a safe space for British Jews’ under Corbyn, says MP

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Labour ‘cannot be a safe space for British Jews’ under Corbyn, says MP

Ruth Smeeth left launch of Chakrabarti report into anti-Semitism in "floods of tears" after verbal assault from Momentum activist

Patrick Maguire is a reporter at the Jewish News.

Ruth Smeeth MP
Ruth Smeeth MP

The Labour Party “cannot be a safe space for British Jews” as long as Jeremy Corbyn is leader, according to a Jewish MP who left the launch of the Chakrabarti report into anti-Semitism in “floods of tears” after being verbally abused by a hard-left activist.

In a statement released after a widely-publicised clash at the this morning’s launch event, Ruth Smeeth said her leader’s failure to intervene after she was verbally abused in front of him showed a “catastrophic failure of leadership”.

She is now calling on him to “resign immediately” in favour of “someone with the backbone to confront racism and anti-Semitism in our party and in the country”.

The Stoke-on-Trent North and Kidsgrove MP stormed out of the event after clashing with Momentum activist and Jeremy Corbyn supporter Marc Wardsworth, who accused her of “working hand in hand” with the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

Smeeth described his allegation that she was acting as part of a “media conspiracy” as a “traditional anti-Semitic slur”.

Corbyn ignored the attack during the event, instead focusing on the contents of the Shami Chakrabarti’s review.

Smeeth said in a statement released this afternoon that it was “beyond belief” that Corbyn could do “absolutely nothing” in the face of “vile conspiracy theories about Jewish people”.

The former frontbencher – one of 63 to resign over the past week – went on to say: “No one from the leader’s office has contacted me since the event, which is itself a catastrophic failure of leadership.”

Her statement read: “I was verbally attacked by a Momentum activist and Jeremy Corbyn supporter who used traditional anti-Semitic 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 anti-Semitism 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.

It added: “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.”

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