Group of Labour left MPs call on Keir Starmer to reinstate Rebecca Long-Bailey

PUBLISHED: 14:45 26 June 2020 | UPDATED: 15:01 26 June 2020

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer. Photo: Aaron Chown

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer. Photo: Aaron Chown

PA Wire/PA Images

The left-wing Campaign group of Labour MPs has urged Sir Keir Starmer to reinstate Rebecca Long-Bailey to the shadow cabinet.

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Following a conference call with the Labour leader, the group said there had been a “significant disagreement” over the dismissal of the shadow education secretary for sharing an article containing an allegedly anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.

While they said the discussion had taken place in a “mutually respectful manner”, they made clear Sir Keir had stuck to his guns, saying there had been a “significant disagreement” between them.

The Labour leader’s office declined to comment on the talks, saying it had been a private meeting.

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The group said it had also raised the issue of the freedom of party members to speak out on Israel.

“The Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs made it clear that Rebecca Long-Bailey should not have been sacked and should be reinstated,” the statement said.

“The imminent annexation of the West Bank by Israel’s government was discussed and the need for the Labour Party, MPs, party members and supporters to speak out against Israel’s illegal annexation and ongoing human rights abuses by the government of Israel was raised.

“This was a businesslike exchange of views which took place in a mutually respectful manner.”

Long-Bailey was fired on Thursday after refusing to take down a tweet linking to an interview with the actor Maxine Peake in which she claimed police linked to the death of George Floyd in the US had learned their tactics from the Israeli secret services.

Sir Keir said he had acted in order to rebuild trust with the Jewish community after years in which Labour has been embroiled in allegations of anti-Semitism under his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn.

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