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UK Labour leader holds firm on decision to dismiss Long-Bailey

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Rebecca Long-Bailey was ousted from Labour this week. Photo: PA

Rebecca Long-Bailey was ousted from Labour this week. Photo: PA

PA

Rebecca Long-Bailey was ousted from Labour this week. Photo: PA

Keir Starmer has dismissed calls by Labour left-wingers to reinstate Rebecca Long-Bailey after she was sacked for sharing an article online containing an allegedly anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.

Members of the Campaign group of MPs held a conference call with the Labour leader to protest against Ms Long-Bailey's dismissal as shadow education secretary.

But while they said the discussion had taken place in a "mutually respectful manner", they made clear Mr Starmer had stuck to his guns.

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

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

Mr Starmer 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.

However, the move infuriated left-wing allies of the former leader, including ex-shadow chancellor John McDonnell, who rejected claims Ms Peake's comments were anti-Semitic and said he stood "in solidarity" with Ms Long-Bailey.

In a statement following its meeting with Mr Starmer, the Campaign group said: "On the sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey from the shadow cabinet, it was clear that significant disagreement remains on this point.

"The Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs made it clear that Rebecca Long-Bailey should not have been sacked and should be reinstated."

Following Ms Long-Bailey's dismissal, Ms Peake acknowledged that her comments in 'The Independent' had been "inaccurate".

The former shadow education secretary, however, insisted it was not "racist or anti-Semitic" to draw attention to concerns about police tactics.

Irish Independent