"Sacking Rebecca Long-Bailey was a massive overreaction," says former Labour aide

25 June 2020, 17:47

By Fiona Jones

Shelagh Fogarty debates with former Labour aide Andrew Fisher over whether the Shadow Education Secretary should have been sacked for retweeting an article containing an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer sacked Rebecca Long-Bailey from the shadow cabinet after she shared an article containing an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, the party has said.

The former Shadow Education Secretary has been dropped from the front bench after reposting an article on Twitter which claimed the tactic used by US police to kill George Floyd was "taught by the Israeli army".

Former aide to Jeremy Corbyn Andrew Fisher called the sacking of Ms Long-Bailey "a massive overreaction" and condemned Sir Keir Starmer for "poor practice" after Ms Long-Bailey agreed a clarification with his office and was "sacked anyway."

Mr Fisher said the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory was "one sentence" in the article and that it is "very clear Rebecca Long-Bailey was not endorsing that sentence." He thought that Ms Long-Bailey's clarification was the "right response."

Shelagh Fogarty countered that the very recent and distressing history of the Labour party for Jewish people that "an article in which somebody makes the leap from yet another killing of a black man by the police in America to Israel in one fell swoop" is problematic.

Shelagh continued that the Shadow Education Secretary should have to take the medicine of her retweet considering the party has had this recent anti-Semitism, even if it was simply an oversight.

Mr Fisher replied that it seemed odd that despite Ms Long-Bailey agreed and posted the clarification she was still sacked, if her account is to be believed.

"I also think we have to treat people as acting in good faith until we can prove otherwise...I'm pretty sure having known Rebecca Long-Bailey for many years that was not the bit of the article she was trying to highlight," Mr Fisher said, "it's one sentence three-quarters of the way down, she may well actually have not even read that sentence."

Shelagh pointed out that Ms Long-Bailey failed to explicitly say she did not endorse the sentence relating to George Floyd and Israel and instead said: "It wasn’t intended to be an endorsement of all aspects of the article."

The former Labour aide reiterated he did not endorse the article's message at all but maintained Rebecca Long-Bailey received unfair treatment in that instance.

In a statement, the Labour party 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 are all vigilant against it."

More Shelagh Fogarty News

See more More Shelagh Fogarty News

Irate caller fumes over millionaires getting £400 fuel grant

Irate caller fumes over millionaires getting £400 fuel grant

'Better late than never': Economist reacts to Rishi Sunak's cost of living support package

'Better late than never': Economist reacts to Rishi Sunak's cost of living support package

'Why did I bother sticking by the rules?': Chris Bryant tells of lockdown struggle to find care for dad

'Why did I bother with the rules?': Chris Bryant's lockdown struggle to find care for dad

'He should be absolutely ashamed': Shelagh Fogarty slams PM over Partygate

'He should be absolutely ashamed': Shelagh Fogarty slams PM over Partygate

Minister calls for collaboration to tackle 'absolutely horrific' spiking of students

Minister calls for collaboration to tackle 'absolutely horrific' spiking of students

Mother tells LBC 'systemic racism' in Met 'shattering faith' of black youth

Mother tells LBC 'systemic racism' in Met 'shattering faith' of black youth

Children's social care 'crumbling' and 'not fit for purpose' warns foster carer

Children's social care 'crumbling' and 'not fit for purpose' warns foster carer

Shelagh Fogarty: I think anyone who invades a football pitch is an idiot

Shelagh Fogarty: I think anyone who invades a football pitch is an idiot

'Moronic nutters' invading pitches 'bring shame' on football, John Stapleton fumes

'Moronic nutters' invading pitches 'bring shame' on football, John Stapleton fumes

'We're told to smile whilst we're sexually harassed': Campaigner aims to end street sexual harassment

'We're told to smile whilst it happens': Campaigner aims to end street sexual harassment

Tory Cllr: Boris Johnson has 'without a doubt' harmed party's reputation

Boris has 'without a doubt' harmed party's reputation, Tory councillor says

Caller, who lost mother, brands Boris Johnson a 'proven liar' before breaking down in tears

Caller, who lost mother, brands PM a 'proven liar' before breaking down in tears

Importing overseas nurses hides 'gaping wound' of UK nurse supply, warns RCN Deputy Nursing Dir

Importing overseas nurses hides 'gaping wound' within NHS, warns nursing chief

Britain's ability to sign trade deals will be damaged if it unilaterally dumps the Northern Ireland protocol according to Nick Thomas-Symonds

Truss damaging UK's reputation with NI Protocol 'threats', Labour MP warns

Liverpool fans booing national anthem was 'misdirected', says ex-Bishop of city

Liverpool fans booing national anthem was 'misdirected', says ex-Bishop of city

'Terrified': Stella Creasy tells LBC of gang rape threats at university

'My gang rape fear': Stella Creasy tells of sex harassment hell at Cambridge