Mr Reed, the Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, tweeted on 4th July: “Is millionaire former porn-baron Desmond the puppet-master for the entire Tory cabinet? @Robert Jenrick @PritiPatel”.
The tweet was a reference to a planning controversy relating to Richard Desmond, the Jewish businessman, and the Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick.
Andrew Percy MP, The Conservative co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Antisemitism, reportedly said: “Alluding to Jews as puppet-masters is an age old antisemitic trope and for a Shadow Cabinet member to use this trope is totally unacceptable. If Keir Starmer was serious about tackling antisemitism he would sack Steve Reed on the spot. Otherwise the British people will rightly conclude the action taken against Rebecca Long-Bailey last week was done out of political convenience rather than principle.”
It is understood that a source close to Mr Reed said: “Steve did not know Richard Desmond was Jewish. He deleted the tweet and did not mean to cause any offence.”
However, the tweet was retweeted (and also deleted) by another Labour MP, Mike Amesbury.
Sir Keir, appearing on LBC this morning, said that he “hasn’t seen” the tweet “but will take a look at it”. All eyes will be on Sir Keir to see what action, if any, he chooses to take.
On 28th May 2019, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a full statutory investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
In the first release of its Antisemitism in Political Parties research, Campaign Against Antisemitism showed that Labour Party candidates for Parliament in the 2019 general election accounted for 82 percent of all incidents of antisemitic discourse by parliamentary candidates.
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Antisemitism Barometer 2019 showed that antisemitism on the far-left of British politics has surpassed that of the far-right.
Campaign Against Antisemitism advocates for zero tolerance of antisemitism in public life. To that end we monitor all political parties and strive to ensure that any cases of concern are properly addressed.