'I knew it'd be rowdy': LBC's political editor forced out of Labour fringe event

26 September 2021, 21:54 | Updated: 27 September 2021, 13:48

Theo Usherwood

By Theo Usherwood

LBC's Political Editor Theo Usherwood explains how he was forcibly removed from the Jewish Voice for Labour fringe event by Tony Greenstein - a man expelled from the Labour Party for "virulent anti-Semitism".

Tony Greenstein caught my eye from across the room. He seemed oddly angry that I had arrived at the Jewish Voice for Labour event at the Mercure Hotel on the seafront. 

I knew the meeting was going to be rowdy but I had no idea it would take the turn it did. 

Greenstein - a man expelled from the Labour Party for virulent anti-Semitism - started by snatching my mobile phone from my hand. I managed to get it back after he threw it across the room. 

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But then, boxed into the corner, I was told by Greenstein that he wanted to kick me out of the meeting. When I refused to go, I was told they were calling the police. I said that was fine, only for Greenstein to grab my arm and force me out of the hotel’s ballroom. 

Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised. After all, this is a group that has spent years trying to gaslight the nation that the problem of anti-Semitism is not endemic within the Labour Party. 

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But this was an event that was listed in the official fringe guide. Only a couple of hours earlier, I was listening to a debate about how Labour was going to adopt the final recommendations of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. 

And yet here I was being kicked out of a fringe event just for doing my job. Perhaps, the clearest sign yet - to me at least - that the dark days of anti-Jewish racism in the Labour Party aren't yet behind it. 

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On Monday afternoon Jewish Voice for Labour issued an apology following the incident:

"Last night’s very successful JVL fringe meeting was marred by a regrettable incident when a journalist, who had not requested permission, filmed the audience on his phone. The physical intervention to stop him was not carried out by a member of JVL or with our authority. Physical force was not appropriate and JVL apologises unreservedly to the journalist. JVL had legitimate concerns about security at the meeting but this does not excuse what took place. JVL officers apologised to the journalist at the time and are writing to his employers LBC."