U.K. Labour Minister Rebecca Long-Bailey Sacked After Sharing "Anti-Semitic" Tweet

Rebecca Long-Bailey has been sacked as shadow education secretary of U.K. Labour after sharing an "anti-semitic conspiracy theory" on Twitter.

Long-Bailey had tweeted an article that included a claim that U.S. police learned the tactics that killed George Floyd from Israel.

A spokesperson for Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer said: "This afternoon Keir Starmer asked Rebecca Long-Bailey to step down from the shadow cabinet.

"The article Rebecca shared earlier today contained an antisemitic conspiracy theory.

"As Leader of the Labour Party, Keir has been clear that restoring trust with the Jewish community is a number one priority.

"Antisemitism takes many different forms and it is important that we all are vigilant against it."

The article featured an interview with actress Maxine Peake, who told the Independent: "The tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd's neck, that was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services."

Long-Bailey tweeted the article along with the words: "Maxine Peake is an absolute diamond."

Rebecca-Long Bailey
Rebecca Long-Bailey has been sacked by Sir Keri Starmer Getty

Following her sacking Long-Bailey took to Twitter to say that the "main thrust" of the article she posted was "anger with the Conservative Government's handling of the current emergency and a call for Labour Party unity."

She said: "These are sentiments are shared by everyone in our movement and millions of people in our country. I learned that many people were concerned by references to international sharing of training and restraint techniques between police and security forces.

"In no way was my retweet an intention to endorse every part of that article."

The former Labour Party leadership contender said that she wanted to acknowledge concerns over her post and "duly issued a clarification of my retweet, with the wording agreed in advance by the Labour Party Leader's Office" but after posting it, was instructed to take down the clarification and the original retweet.

"I could not do this in good conscience without the issuing of a press statement of clarification. 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.

The MP for Salford and Eccles said she would continue to support the Labour Party in Parliament under Keir Starmer's leadership.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews, the largest and oldest Jewish communal organisation in the U.K. welcomed Sir Keir's decision.

Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies said: "I would like to thank Keir Starmer for backing his words with actions on anti-Semitism.

"After Rebecca Long-Bailey shared a conspiracy theory, we and others gave her the opportunity to retract and apologise.

"To our surprise and dismay, her response was pathetic. Her position as shadow education secretary was therefore untenable."

However, former Shadow Chancellor and Jeremy Corbyn ally John McDonnell tweeted in support of Long-Bailey.

He said: "Throughout discussion of antisemitism it's always been said criticism of practices of Israeli state is not antisemitic. I don't believe therefore that this article is or ⁦⁦@RLong_Bailey should've been sacked. I stand in solidarity with her."

The Chair of the Constituency Labour Party in Luton South, Markus Keaney, told Newsweek: "Keir Starmer's stated reason for sacking Rebecca Long-Bailey, namely that she shared an 'antisemitic conspiracy theory', is both dishonest and opportunistic.

"Starmer is not a socialist, and has been looking for opportunistic excuses to expunge those with any connection to Corbyn from his shadow cabinet at the earliest opportunity."