Jeremy Corbyn ‘offended’ constituents with suggestion he is ‘not wealthy’, says Labour MP

'Perhaps it’s easy to be an ideological purist if you can afford to live under the Tories. My constituents can’t'

Ashley Cowburn
Political Correspondent
Wednesday 21 September 2016 17:48
Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent North Ruth Smeeth
Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent North Ruth Smeeth

Labour MP Ruth Smeeth has said that her working-class constituents found it “offensive” that Jeremy Corbyn said he doesn’t consider himself wealthy, despite a £137,000 salary.

In an interview with the London Evening Standard, in which she also revealed the extent of anti-Semitic abuse she has suffered over the summer, Ms Smeeth, the MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, added: “He [Mr Corbyn] earns £130,000 a year.

"My constituents are doing well if they earn 10 per cent of that…perhaps it’s easy to be an ideological purist if you can afford to live under the Tories. My constituents can’t.”

The former shadow minister added her constituents found it “offensive” when it emerged the Labour leader had said: “I don't consider myself highbrow or wealthy, but I still enjoy some aspects of classical music.”

The MP, who is also Jewish, was the centre of media attention at the launch of Labour’s inquiry into anti-Semitism in the party’s ranks when she left the meeting early after an activist accused her of colluding with the right-wing press.

Since then, she revealed in the interview, she has been called a “yid c***”, a “CIA/ MI5/Mossad informant”, a “dyke”, and a “f***ing traitor”.

The former shadow minister has been taking advice from the police about security after receiving death threats online and a total of 25,000 abusive messages, many of them anti-Semitic attacks. One, she claimed, had sent her a 1,000-word essay on how he would kill her.

Her comments appeared after she had earlier revealed she will be taking a “minder” to the party’s annual conference in Liverpool at the weekend. “I will have someone with me. I haven’t felt the need to do this before, but it is a sensible security precaution for obvious reasons at the moment”, Ms Smeeth, who is Jewish, told The Sun.

“But I’ve been to conference every year since 1999 and I’m not going to stop going now.”

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