The MP was Ruth Smeeth, who is Jewish. Wadsworth found himself accused of using a crude anti-Semitic trope, presumably that of the disloyal Jew, which was fine when the Daily Mail used it on the memory of Ralph Miliband, but not for him. The problem for those making this accusation is that Wadsworth did not know Ms Smeeth was Jewish.
Nonetheless, he was ultimately expelled from the party for the catch-all reason of bringing it into disrepute. He had become just a little more collateral damage in an increasingly vicious campaign being directed at former party leader Jeremy Corbyn. But as so often, the opposition rides to your rescue, and the Jewish Chronicle soon came galloping.
The JC, which does appear to have an unfortunate habit of making accusations and assertions without first ascertaining the facts, accused Wadsworth of being part of a group called the Labour In Exile Network. The story, such as it was, was totally untrue. As a result, Wadsworth instructed lawyers, as have so many smeared recently by the JC.
As City AM has reported, “The High Court heard that the newspaper article focused on allegations that a group of Labour members - including people said to have been suspended or expelled - were part of a plan to track down Jewish Labour activists at their homes to ‘take care’ of them’”. His lawyer added “Wadsworth is not and has never been a member of the group to which the article referred. He neither spoke at nor attended the event in question, and has not been involved whatsoever in the group’s activities”.
Tom Bower - lied about Wadsworth
As the JC has admitted, its article suggested that LIEN, and therefore Wadsworth’s involvement in it, was criminal. City AM has added “Mrs Justice Collins Rice, who oversaw the public apology, said: ‘This was a serious mistake for the Jewish Chronicle to have made’”. Wadsworth had instructed Carter Ruck. Which means it was expensive.
So far, so redemptive, but there may be yet more: Wadsworth was also the target of a crude and defamatory claim by Tom Bower in his not-very-accurate hit-job biography of Jeremy Corbyn. Bower embellished the argument between Wadsworth and Ms Smeeth by claiming that the former had ended his accusation by asserting “and she’s a Jew”.
Peter Oborne, who reviewed Bower’s book, concluded “The brief incident is recorded on video. I have examined this video. Nowhere in the footage does Wadsworth say that Smeeth is Jewish. I spoke to two eyewitnesses to this event, both of whom confirmed to me that at no point did Wadsworth say that Smeeth was Jewish”.
Moreover, Wadsworth did not know Ms Smeeth was Jewish. Most likely Bower thought he could get away with that, assuming Wadsworth did not have the means to lawyer up. Maybe the JC thought so, too. One of them now knows they made the wrong call.
Would it be too much to hope that Wadsworth moves to make it two out of two?
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