WATCH: Sacking Long-Bailey was “the right thing to do”, says Starmer

Elliot Chappell

Keir Starmer has defended his decision to sack Rebecca Long-Bailey from the Labour frontbench – declaring that it was “the right thing to do”.

In an interview with BBC Breakfast this morning, the Labour leader was asked whether there was anything that Long-Bailey could have done after tweeting the article to have kept her position.

Starmer refused to go into the detail on the conversations between the two – he instead reiterated that he is determined to “root out antisemitism” within the Labour Party.

The Labour leader said: “I took the view that the article that Rebecca Long-Bailey tweeted about was classic antisemitic in the sense of saying here’s something awful that happened in America – point the finger at Israel.”

He added: “I’m absolutely clear in my mind that it was the right thing to do, because I do not want the Labour Party and antisemitism to be in the same sentence ever again.”

Starmer sacked Long-Bailey from the shadow cabinet after she shared an interview containing the claim that US police learnt kneeling on people’s necks “from seminars with Israeli secret services”.

Kate Green MP – previously in the shadow work and pensions team – has been appointed as her replacement. Green served in Jeremy Corbyn’s cabinet. She resigned in 2016 and subsequently chaired Owen Smith’s leadership campaign.

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