Keir Starmer defends decision to sack Rebecca Long-Bailey

Keir Starmer appears on Good Morning Britain. Photograph: ITV.

Keir Starmer appears on Good Morning Britain. Photograph: ITV. - Credit: Archant

Labour leader Keir Starmer has defended his decision to sack Rebecca Long-Bailey from his shadow cabinet.

Long-Bailey lost her post as shadow education secretary after sharing an online article by actress Maxine Peake containing an allegedly anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.

She refused to take down a tweet with the link to an interview with Peake where she claimed police linked to the death of George Floyd in the US had learned their tactics from the Israeli secret services.

Speaking to Good Morning Britain the leader of the opposition said he believed most people in the Labour Party supported his decision.

Asked whether he was accusing Rebecca Long-Bailey of anti-Semitism, after she was sacked for sharing an article that contained an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, Sir Keir Starmer said: 'No I'm not.'

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He said: 'It's pretty obvious to me that the casual link between something goes wrong in the world and you point the finger either at the Jews or Israel, it's the casualness of it that is very obvious and offensive.

'I actually think within the party as the dust settles on this most people in the party recognise the decision made last Thursday is the right decision.'

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It comes as a YouGov poll found just 16% of Labour supporters thought Starmer was wrong to sack her, with 44% saying he made the right move.

Around 47% of voters overall agreed with the dismissal, 12% who disagreed and 41% who said they did not know.

Following Long-Bailey's dismissal, Peake acknowledged that her comments in an interview with the Independent had been 'inaccurate'.

Long-Bailey, however, insisted it was not 'racist or anti-Semitic' to draw attention to concerns about police tactics.

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