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Labour MP apologises over 'anti-Semitic' tweet

Sandwell | Politics | Published:

Sir Keir Starmer has been urged to "take action" after one of his Shadow Cabinet Minister's was accused of using an anti-Semitic trope.

Labour MP Steve Reed has apologised for the tweet

Labour’s Steve Reed suggested Jewish businessman Richard Desmond was a "puppet master" in a tweet claiming he had influence over the Government.

He has since apologised, saying his language was "inappropriate".

Nicola Richards, the Conservative MP for West Bromwich East, is among a number of MPs to call for action from the Labour leadership over Mr Reed's comment.

In a letter to Labour leader Mr Starmer, she said she was "shocked and appalled" to read the comment by the Shadow Communities Secretary.

"Steve Reed MP alluded to someone from the Jewish faith as a "puppet master". This is an age old anti-Semitic trope," she said.

"It is completely acceptable for a member of your Shadow Cabinet to use such deeply hurtful language.

"When you became leader of the Labour Party you said you would rid Labour of anti-Semites. If you still stand by this promise will you take action against Steve Reed MP?"

West Bromwich East MP Nicola Richards has called for Sir Keir Starmer to take action

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Mr Reed had tweeted: "Is millionaire former porn-baron Desmond the puppet-master for the entire Tory cabinet? @Robert Jenrick @PritiPatel".

He was also responding to claims that Home Secretary Priti Patel met Mr Desmond – who has been at the centre of a £1bn property deal controversially signed off by the Government – and then called for a relaxation of lottery rules.

Mr Reed has since deleted the tweet and apologised.

He tweeted: "I want to apologise unreservedly for the language in the tweet I posted on Saturday. It was inappropriate and as soon as I realised my error I deleted it."

A source close to Mr Reed reportedly said: "Steve did not know Richard Desmond was Jewish. He deleted the tweet and did not mean to cause any offence."

Mr Starmer has announced he plans to review the matter.

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