Former Labour MP Ruth Smeeth launched a brave, brutal tirade against the party’s deputy leader candidates at a hustings last night.
Speaking at a debate organised by the Jewish Labour Movement, Smeeth called out the candidates for failing to support her efforts to rid the party of anti-Semitism. She said:
“You know that I stood up at every Parliamentary Labour Party meeting and called out anti-Semitism and asked for help, and I didn’t get any.
“In fact, there have been times where I was dismissed, where colleagues, including some of the people standing for election, shouted at me for raising those issues, shouted at me in my office for raising those issues.
“And the idea that it should be Jewish women that have to lead this fight by themselves – because that’s what happened, with notable exceptions – is simply a disgrace.
“So I’m very interested in knowing where people were. I’m very interested in knowing why you were silent.”
A board member of the anti-racism campaign group HOPE not hate, Smeeth lost her Stoke-on-Trent North seat at the last general election.
After accusing prominent Labour activist Marc Wadsworth of using an anti-Semitic slur against her in June 2016, Smeeth received over 25,000 pieces of abuse in the space of two months – prompting police to ramp up her personal security.
Wadsworth was ultimately expelled for bringing the party into disrepute, though not before a bitter internal court case. Smeeth clearly feels more of her colleagues should have stood alongside her.
Let’s see whether, now, any of the Labour leadership contenders take her words more seriously.
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