`It is scandalous that Wadsworth was suspended by the general secretary, Iain McNicol, because he dared to challenge a Labour MP who was a high-profile opponent of the democratically elected Labour leader, and raise the issue of black political under-representation at the launch of the Shami Chakrabarti report into antisemitism and racism. Fortunately, the moment when Wadsworth spoke out was captured on a video that has been widely publicised by the media. It clearly demonstrates he is not guilty of antisemitism.
We note that Wadsworth has a long record of fighting against racism and antisemitism, inside and outside the Labour party and trade union movement, and demand that he is reinstated immediately.`
Herman Ouseley Chair, Kick it Out, Linda Bellos, Peter Tatchell, Prof Paul Gilroy, Prof Gus John, Prof Pat Thane, Suresh Grover The Monitoring Group, Stafford Scott Tottenham Rights, Dr Iqbal Scram, Peter Herbert Society of Black Lawyers, Simon Woolley Operation Black Vote, Jackie Walker, Orson Nava, Gary Younge
At the launch of the Shami Chakrabarti report into anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, black activist Marc Wadsworth said:
“I saw that the Telegraph handed a copy of a press release to Ruth Smeeth MP so you can see who is working hand in hand. If you look around this room, how many African Caribbean and Asian people are there? We need to get our house in order.”
You can see the video of him saying it on the Independent website here.
Sky News has been reporting this, I think gleefully is the word, in its headlines all afternoon as an “anti-Semitic attack” on Ms Smeeth. Sky have not however shown what he actually said, although they had cameras at the event, and their journalist who was present described the comments without qualification as anti-Semitic without saying what the comment actually was.
Mr Wadsworth denies knowing Ms Smeeth is Jewish. I have no idea if that is true; I didn’t know myself, nor care. But neither what Wadsworth actually said, not his denial that he knew she is Jewish, is being reported by the broadcast media. What is being reported very widely is Ms Smeeth’s subsequent statement:
“I was verbally attacked by a Momentum activist and Jeremy Corbyn supporter who used traditional anti-Semitic slurs to attack me for being part of a “media conspiracy”. It is beyond belief that someone could come to the launch of a report about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party and espouse such vile conspiracy theories against Jewish people.”
Ms Smeeth’s statement contains one stark dishonesty. She puts “media conspiracy” in inverted commas, when Mr Wadsworth did not use the phrase, or even either of those two words separately. Ms Smeeth appears to have deliberately misrepresented what Mr Wadsworth said, which I presume she checked.