Police probe death threat against Jewish MP Ruth Smeeth

Police probe death threat against Jewish MP Ruth Smeeth

Counter-terror officers are giving the MP special protection after a foul mouthed death threat was posted on social media

Ruth Smeeth MP
Ruth Smeeth MP

Counter-terrorism police have launched an investigation into a fanatic who has threatened to hang a Jewish female Labour MP from the gallows.

Ruth Smeeth is reportedly receiving special protection from police after receiving the foul-mouthed death threat on Facebook, which included anti-Semitic and homophobic abuse.

The Stoke-on-Trent MP is branded a “yid”, “dyke” and a “CIA agent” in the highly offensive rant which is reported in The Sun.

The abuser finishes the post by saying: “Ruth Smeeth is British and from my perspective since treason is still a capital offence in Britain, the gallows would be a fine and fitting place for this Dyke piece of Yid s*** to swing from”

The threat was issued in July, soon after the MP fled the launch of Labour’s report into anti-Semitism in tears after being accused by a Momentum activist of colluding with the right-wing press.

Ms Smeeth accused Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of a “catastrophic failure of leadership” for failing to intervene during the incident and said the Labour Party “cannot be a safe space” for British Jews.

And she laid the blame for the latest threat with Mr Corbyn who she said had not done enough to stop abuse, telling The Sun: “I very much hold Jeremy personally responsible.”

However, a spokesperson for Jeremy Corbyn responded by saying: “Jeremy has consistently spoken out against all forms of anti-semitism and has contacted Ruth Smeeth to express his outrage at the abuse and threats directed against her. Jeremy condemns all abuse, and no one responsible for it is a genuine supporter of Jeremy’s. He has repeatedly called for a kinder, gentler politics. This is why he launched “Respect and Unity”, a code of conduct calling on all Labour members and supporters to conduct themselves with a high standard of behaviour. Evidence of threats and abuse should be reported to the party and police so that action may be taken against those responsible.”

Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership rival Owen Smith said: “Anti-semitic abuse and violent threats against Ruth Smeeth, or anyone else, are completely unacceptable. I condemn them unreservedly and Ruth has my full support.

“Anyone responsible for abuse like this has no place in the Labour Party. There can be no excuses for abuse, and it should never be ignored.”

Counter-terrorism police are investigating who is behind the abusive message, but no arrests have been made.

Ms Smeeth told The Sun: “You can’t help but have a human reaction when you see comments as hateful as this.

“What concerns me most is the impact it has on my staff, who see it before me.

“But I am quite clear that I will not be intimidated by any of these people. I was elected to serve my constituents and I have a job to do.”

The Met Police said: “On Wednesday, 13 July, allegations of malicious communication and threats to kill made via social media were reported to the Metropolitan Police Service.

“After an assessment, an investigation was started by the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command in liaison with the Parliamentary & Diplomatic Protection Command. That investigation is ongoing.

“At this stage, whilst there have been no arrests, a number of lines of enquiry are being actively pursued.”

A Labour spokeswoman said: “The Labour Party fully supports the work of the police in ensuring the safety and protection of all MPs and their staff.

“Threatening behaviour will not be tolerated within the party and we urge anyone receiving any abuse to contact the party and where relevant the police.

“We will do all we can to support Ruth and her staff during this time.”

Board of Deputies Vice President Marie van der Zyl called on Labour’s leadership contenders to condemn online anti-Semitism, adding that the incident shows “the depths which some so-called Labour supporters are plumbing.”

“This needs to be roundly and swiftly condemned by both the leadership candidates and the Party needs to act to drain the cesspit of anti-Semitism that has become so apparent in recent months.

“This will not happen if leading Labour figures continue to irresponsibly undermine the disciplinary process that has, often belatedly, led to the suspension of bigots. Casting doubt on the actions that are being taken means that certain Labour figures are effectively giving a ‘free pass’ to racism and misogyny and creating a culture of impunity for antisemitism.”

“Labour’s disciplinary process needs to be strengthened, not undermined.”

Simon Johnson, CEO of the Jewish Leadership Council added: “The threats targeted at Ruth Smeeth MP have no place in society. The Leader of the Labour Party seems to have no control over his ‘so-called’ supporters and his repeated condemnations have not begun to tackle antisemitism within his party.  Where individuals are known to Mr Corbyn, he must act to protect his MPs. His calls for a ‘kinder, gentler politics,’ are proving to be at best a cover-up for his lack of decisive action and at worse something far more sinister.”

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