Keir Starmer sacks Rebecca Long-Bailey for sharing an article containing ‘anti-Semitic conspiracy theory’

DUDLEY, ENGLAND - MARCH 08: Rebecca Long-Bailey, Shadow Secretary of State for Business looks on during the last Labour Party Leadership hustings at Dudley Town Hall on March 08, 2020 in Dudley, England. Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy are vying to replace Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is stepping down following his party's loss in the December 2019 general election. The new leader and deputy will be announced on 4 April, 2020.  (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Sir Keir Starmer has sacked shadow education secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey after she shared an article which he believed contained an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.

Long-Bailey tweeted an Independent interview with actor Maxine Peake, in which Peake claimed US police officers learned the technique of kneeling on suspects' necks from the Israeli secret service.

The technique has been thrown into the spotlight after the death of George Floyd, who died after an officer knelt on his neck for nine minutes.

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Britain's Labour Party's Shadow Secretary of State for Departing the European Union Keir Starmer and Labour Party's Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey leave the Cabinet Office, as Brexit wrangles continue, in London, Britain, April 4, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Britain's Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and Rebecca Long-Bailey attend a Prime Minister's Questions session in the House of Commons, in London, Britain January 15, 2020. ©UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Labour's shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey greets former Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas after a general election debate in Cardiff, Britain November 29, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/Pool
Labour's shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey speaks during a general election debate in Cardiff, Britain November 29, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/Pool
Labour Party's Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey and Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell attend the launch of the party manifesto in Birmingham, Britain November 21, 2019. REUTERS/Phil Noble
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks on new digital infrastructure policy, next to Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell and Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, as part of his general election campaign in Lancaster, Britain November 15, 2019. REUTERS/Andrew Yates
Labour's Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Rebecca Long-Bailey speaks at a general election campaign event in Manchester, Britain November 7, 2019. REUTERS/Jon Super
British Labour Party MP Rebecca Long-Bailey speaks at the Labour party annual conference in Brighton, Britain September 24, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn walks with MP Rebecca Long-Bailey in Salford, Britain, September 2, 2019. REUTERS/Andrew Yates
Britain's Labour Party's Shadow Secretary of State for Departing the European Union Keir Starmer and Labour Party's Shadow Business Secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey are seen outside the Cabinet Office, as uncertainty over Brexit continues, in London, Britain, April 9, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
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Long-Bailey tweeted a link to the interview (which was headlined "Maxine Peake: 'People who couldn't vote Labour because of Corbyn? They voted Tory as far as I'm concerned'") alongside the comment: "Maxine Peake is an absolute diamond."

Peake said in the interview: "The tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd's neck, that was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services."

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 16: Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy speaking at a hustings event for Labour Leader and Deputy Leader, hosted by the Co-operative Party, at the Business Design Centre on February 16, 2020 in London, England. Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy are vying to replace Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who offered to step down following his party's loss in the December 2019 general election. (Photo by Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

A spokesman for 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. Anti-Semitism takes many different forms and it is important that we all are vigilant against it."

In a statement, Long-Bailey said "in no way was my retweet an intention to endorse every part of that article".

However, Long-Bailey admitted she chose not to remove her Twitter post after being instructed to do so by the leader's office, prompting Starmer's decision to sack her.

The party has been hit by numerous anti-Semitism allegations in recent years.

Starmer, after being elected as Jeremy Corbyn's successor in April, promised to root out anti-Semitism.

Responding to his sacking of Long-Bailey on Thursday, the Board of Deputies of British Jews thanked Starmer for his "swift action".

Long-Bailey's full statement read:

"Today I retweeted an interview that my constituent and stalwart Labour Party supporter Maxine Peake gave to the Independent. Its main thrust was anger with the Conservative government's handling of the current emergency and a call for Labour Party unity.

"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.

"I wished to acknowledge these concerns and duly issued a clarification of my retweet, with the wording agreed in advance by the Labour Party leader's Office, but after posting I was subsequently instructed to take both this agreed clarification and my original retweet down.

"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.

"I am proud of the policies we have developed within the party from our green industrial revolution to a national education service and I will never stop working for the change our communities need to see.

"I am clear that I shall continue to support the Labour Party in Parliament under Keir Starmer's leadership, to represent the people of Salford and Eccles and work towards a more equal, peaceful and sustainable world."

- This article originally appeared on Yahoo.

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