Rebecca Long-Bailey, tipped as next Labour leader, says Corbyn has lost trust of Jewish community

Exclusive: In a meeting with the Jewish Labour Movement, the shadow business secretary also said Chris Williamson should not be in the party


Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey has told Jewish Labour Movement officials in Manchester that she is aware Jeremy Corbyn has lost the trust of the community - and has begun discussions on how relations can be fixed.

During a meeting last Friday, the Labour frontbencher was told was that the best way to build bridges was for the Labour leader to resign, but she declined to comment.

But Ms Long-Bailey, who is now being tipped to succeed Mr Corbyn as Labour leader, was frank about her views on MP Chris Williamson, who was suspended again on Friday just 48 hours after he escaped possible expulsion over repeated antisemitism allegations.

The MP for Salford and Eccles told JLM national vice chair  Stephane Savary and north west  chairDena Rynes that she believed Mr Williamson should not be a member of the Labour Party and that she did not know how he had not already been expelled.

Asked why she had not signed the letter initiated by deputy leader Tom Watson on Thursday which called for Mr Corbyn to remove the whip from Mr Williamson, Ms Long-Bailey said she could not do so because she was a member of the shadow cabinet.

But she made it clear she wanted to put her opinion of Mr Williamson on record.

In a tweet following the JLM meeting, Ms Long-Bailey wrote that “Problems surrounding the case of Chris Williamson demonstrate that confidence is still far from being restored, despite recent reforms made to radically strengthen process. Case must be revisited by the NEC as well as further discussion on urgent reform needed to the process.”

During the meeting, which was described as “open and honest”, Ms Long-Bailey also made clear her belief that Labour’s disciplinary procedures relating to antisemitism cases required urgent reform.

She called for the establishment of an independent body to look at cases and said there needed to be a full review of the way the party handles complaints.

As a member of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC), Ms Long-Bailey revealed that the body took no more than five minutes to look at individual cases – and, as part of the process, that the name of the person at the centre of an inquiry was not made known to NEC members.

Ms Long-Bailey also attempted to give an explanation as to how she apparently gave an interview to the far-left website The Canary – whose editor Kerry Anne-Mendoza has repeatedly defended Mr Williamson and other Labour figures accused of antisemitism.

She revealed she had been at an event in Cornwall and had agreed to do a series of interviews with local media around environmental issues. Midway through a conversation with one local journalist, it emerged that the writer was also contributing to The Canary, who later billed the conversation as an exclusive interview.

Ms Long-Bailey said she was “not aware of concerns about The Canary at the time” and that she would “condemn” any antisemitic comments made by anyone linked to the publication.

Within months of being elected as Salford MP in May 2015, Ms Long-Bailey was on the frontbench as a Treasury spokesman, serving as John McDonnell's deputy.

In 2017 she became Shadow Business Secretary – and was picked to form part of the party's team to negotiate with the government on Brexit.

With Mr Corbyn’s future looking more uncertain than ever – mainly down to anger over his failure to deal with Brexit and antisemitism – many on the left back Ms Long-Bailey as the woman to carry forward their project in the future.














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