Open Letter to Keir Starmer on the Dismissal of Rebecca Long-Bailey

This letter was sent to Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer on 27 June 2020. No response was received.

If you wish to support the letter, please send your name and CLP to [email protected]

Keir Starmer and Rebecca Long-Bailey

Dear Keir,

As members of the Labour Party, we have been shocked by your abrupt and authoritarian decision to sack Rebecca Long-Bailey from the shadow cabinet.

The reason given for this action is specious indeed. It is not and cannot be Rebecca’s retweeting of Maxine Peake’s interview. The allegedly antisemitic section of that interview is one sentence only, stating that: “The tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, that was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services.” This allegation is rebutted right away in the same interview, with the interviewer commenting between brackets: “A spokesperson for the Israeli police has denied this, stating that ‘there is no tactic or protocol that calls to put pressure on the neck or airway’.”

Even if plainly wrong, Maxine Peake’s statement would not constitute an instance of antisemitic “conspiracy theory” unless the meaning of these words is completely devalued. The statement refers to the well-known and indisputable fact that the Israeli state has been providing training to US police forces, as shown by this comment published by the US branch of Amnesty International.

The sad truth is that your decision to sack Rebecca Long-Bailey was not a reaction to her retweeting of that interview, but a further instance of bowing to the pressure of the Board of Deputies of British Jews. This is unacceptable and gives this institution unwarranted power over the internal affairs of our party. After the Ten Pledges that the Board of Deputies got candidates to the latest leadership contest in the Labour Party to sign, including Rebecca Long-Bailey herself, here it is interfering again in internal party affairs, not contenting itself with blaming Rebecca but questioning her “suitability” to the role of Shadow Education Secretary as if the board were part of the Labour Party leading bodies.

This is utterly unjust and unacceptable. The Board of Deputies cannot be both judge and jury in matters related to the Israeli state of which it has always been an unconditional backer. Accepting its judgement on issues related to Israel and acting within the party upon this judgement severely compromises the Labour Party’s stance on Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people. It amounts to granting the Board of Deputies a censorship prerogative over all pronouncements criticising the ultra-right government of Israel made by members of the party and, by way of this prerogative, a direct say on the party’s internal life and its outside representation and action.

We believe that it is highly important to repair this serious misstep by immediately reinstating Rebecca Long-Bailey in her position in the shadow cabinet.


Gilbert Achcar, Kingston & Surbiton CLP
Rosemary Addington, Kingston and Surbiton CLP
Avril Alexander, Oxford East CLP
Jo Alexander, Tottenham CLP
Jenny Almeida, Streatham CLP
Omar Al-Qattan, Kensington CLP
Ziad Al-Qattan, Kensington CLP
Gus Alvarez, Kingston & Surbiton CLP
Veronica Alvarez, North Durham CLP
Nadia Amara, Chingford & Woodford Green CLP
Karen Ankers, Ynys Mon CLP
Steven Antoniou, Oxford CLP
Rita Appleby, Chelmsford CLP
Margaret Archer, South Shields CLP
Mandy Baker, Walthamstow CLP
Ray Barkley, Windsor CLP
Terry Barrow, Penistone and Stocksbridge CLP
Graham Bash, South Thanet CLP
Labina Basit, Uxbridge & South Ruislip CLP
Melanie L Baynes, Sheffield Central CLP
Ian Bell, Walthamstow CLP
Catherine Belsey, Cambridge CLP
Anne Benkins, Lower Wye Valley CLP
John Beresford, Leeds Central CLP
Phil Bevin, Kingston & Surbiton CLP
Bhasker Bhadresha, Ilford North CLP
Laurence Biggie, Pontypridd CLP
Rica Bird, Wirral South CLP
Angie Birtill, Hampstead & Kilburn CLP
Katharine Bligh, Hampstead & Kilburn CLP
Nushi Bnazemi, Brent North CLP
Patrick Bonner, Brent North CLP
Kim Boome, Camberwell & Peckham CLP
Tony Booth, Cambridge City CLP
Keith Bradbury, Cannock Chase CLP
Anne-Marie Brody, Wealden CLP
Tarin Brokenshire, Cambridge CLP
Jacqui Brown, Forest of Dean CLP
Susan Buckingham, Cambridge CLP
Erica Burman, Manchester Withington CLP
Suzanne Burns, Somerton & Frome CLP
Carole Buxton, Hackney North & Stoke Newington CLP
Johnnie Byrne, Kingston & Surbiton CLP
Ben Byrne, North Durham CLP
Chantal Cameron, Suffolk Coastal CLP
Peter Cann, Oxford East CLP
David Cannon, Camberwell & Peckham CLP
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Phil Cawston, Brighton Pavilion CLP
Rita Chamber, Dulwich & West Norwood CLP
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Andy Colwell, Labour International CLP
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Nicolas Franklin-Woolley, Penistone & Stocksbridge CLP
Tania Funston, North of Ireland CLP
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Pascale Gillett, Somerton & Frome CLP
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20 thoughts on “Open Letter to Keir Starmer on the Dismissal of Rebecca Long-Bailey”

  1. Thank you for sending this letter,everything in this letter is true,starmer,bod work in tandem to instigate fear in the labour party,they will crash anyone who support the palestinian struggle,socialism.To let the bod to have a final say through they pledges on who is anti semite and who is not is a dangerous move that will corrupt our party immensely,this will alienate the muslim voters in this country from voting labour.

  2. I support this letter. Please add my name to the signatories

    I am a member of Worthing West CLP

  3. I support this letter. I have just been expelled from the LP and accused of anti semitism because I have posted about the atrocities being committed against the Palestinians, that makes me human, not anti semitic.

  4. I support this letter, please add my name to the signatories

    I am a member of Leeds West CLP and Membership Secretary for Kirkstall Branch LP

  5. I’m not a member of the party. I’m 51 years old and have never voted for anyone else except Labour. But I will not vote for this version of the party.
    If we cannot critique then we cannot debate.

  6. I fully support this letter, ask for a prompt and considered response, and query whether the current kow-towing to a stated religious, right wing organisation, which is not an affiliate, goes against the whole ethos and Rule Book of this Political Party.

  7. I support this letter. Please add my name to the signatories
    Jane Lambe Leeds West CLP

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