Rebecca Long Bailey says she would let Luciana Berger back into Labour, despite standing for Lib Dems

The leadership candidate also said she regretted not speaking to Jewish female MPs about how the party treated them


Labour leadership candidate Rebecca Long Bailey has said that she would let Luciana Berger back into the party if she becomes leader, despite the former MP standing for the Liberal Democrats.

She told the Evening Standard: “The circumstances for what happened to Luciana were very different from an MP who was just angry with the leadership. She had a terrible time.”

Party rules exclude those who have stood in an election for a rival party or against a Labour candidate from returning as members.

Ms Berger stood for the Liberal Democrats in December’s general election in Finchley and Golders Green, after defecting from Labour in February last year due to “a culture of bullying, bigotry and intimidation”.

Ms Long Bailey added the treatment of Jewish female MPs, including Ms Berger, Dame Louise Ellman and Ruth Smeeth was “terrible” because “it should never have happened within our party. We should have done more”.

She admitted one of her “big regrets” was not reaching out to them. “I didn’t speak to Louise or Luciana or Ruth directly. I wish I had," she said.

The candidate, who is widely regarded as the continuity Corbyn choice, also said she would like to see Alastair Campbell – Tony Blair’s former spin doctor who was expelled from the party for voting Liberal Democrat – return to the party as well, citing his “expertise”.

She said it was “upsetting” that people thought she wouldn’t tackle antisemitism as leader, “because I’ve often been the shadow cabinet member brave enough to go out to the media and talk about the deficiencies in the way that we’ve dealt with the crisis.”

Ms Long Bailey recently admitted that she had not been “quick enough” to call out cases of antisemitism in the party, after being questioned about a leadership hustings in which did not challenge an activist’s accusation that past and present Labour MPs were “part of the Israel lobby”.

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