Labour row brews as left-wing MPs demand Keir Starmer reinstate Rebecca Long-Bailey

Friday 26th June 2020 15:30 BST

The Socialist Campaign Group said Rebecca Long-Bailey should not have been dropped as shadow education secretary.

After a meeting with Sir Keir on Friday, they said "significant disagreement remains on this point" - signalling the Labour leader will not be U-turning.

Their statement added: "This was a businesslike exchange of views which took place in a mutually-respectful manner."

But it includes no news of resignations that were reportedly threatened by other MPs.

Mrs Long-Bailey lost her job earlier this week when she tweeted an interview with actress Maxine Peake, which contained a claim police who knelt on George Floyd's neck learnt the move from "Israeli secret services".

She later clarified the re-tweet "it wasn't intended to be an endorsement of all aspects of the article" but has resisted calls to apologise.

Peake later herself admitted: "I was inaccurate in my assumption of American Police training and its sources."

Sir Keir's spokesman said the article "contained an antisemitic conspiracy theory" and that "restoring trust with the Jewish community is a number one priority".

So far several prominent members of Jeremy Corbyn's top team have backed Mrs Long-Bailey.

Ex-shadow chancellor John McDonnell shared a petition calling for the Salford MP to be reinstated.

But Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge, who is Jewish, tweeted: "This is what a change in culture looks like. This is what zero tolerance looks like. This is what rebuilding trust with the Jewish community looks like."

John Mann, the government's antisemitism adviser and a former Labour MP, added Sir Keir had done "the decent thing" and "the Jewish community will be significantly reassured because they wanted to see action - not just words".

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