LONDON (Reuters) – The new leader of Britain’s main opposition Labour Party, Keir Starmer, sacked his education spokeswoman Rebecca Long-Bailey on Thursday after she shared an article online which included a reference to what he called an “anti-Semitic conspiracy theory”.
Starmer, who won election as the party’s leader earlier this year, has pledged to stamp out anti-Semitism in Labour after his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn, a veteran campaigner for Palestinian rights, was repeatedly criticised for failing to do so.
“The article Rebecca shared earlier today contained an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory,” a spokesperson for Starmer said. “As leader of the Labour Party, Keir has been clear that restoring trust with the Jewish community is a number one priority.”
Long-Bailey, a Corbyn ally who came second to Starmer in the leadership race, said by sharing the article on Twitter, she was not endorsing “every part of the article” and that she had issued a clarification, which had been agreed with the party, after being made aware of people’s concerns.
“I had asked to discuss these matters with Keir before agreeing what further action to take, but sadly he had already made his decision,” she said, adding she would continue to support the party in parliament under Starmer’s leadership.
(Reporting by William James and Elizabeth Piper, Editing by Paul Sandle)