Grassroots Black Left parliamentary launch; co-founder crowdfunds Labour suspension fight

Grassroots Black Left, a group for left-wing “African, Caribbean and Asian people and their allies who give critical support to the progressive Jeremy Corbyn Labour leadership” formed in autumn 2017, held its parliamentary launch event last week at Parliament, with support from MPs Clive Lewis, Naz Shah and Chris Williamson:

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Representatives of Justice for Grenfell also spoke at the event.

BAME Labour, the official Labour Party affiliate group for black, Asian and ethnic minority members, has long been considered moribund. Last year BAME Labour elected its representative on Labour’s NEC (National Executive Committee) out of only 731 members in total, in spite of Labour rules requiring it to have at least 2,500 members to qualify for a place on the committee.

Many black and Asian Labour members will therefore welcome the formation of a new group more aligned with their interests and politics.

Founder member Mike Wongsam said at the group’s inaugural meeting in 2017:

The time has come for Grassroots Black Left. At this exciting moment when we have an ally, Jeremy Corbyn, as Labour’s leader, a nationwide, grassroots, left-wing organisation of African, Caribbean and Asian party members, who support his progressive politics, is long overdue.

Ironically, however, one of the group’s founders has been suspended from the Labour Party for over eighteen months.

Marc Wadsworth was suspended in 2016 after controversy over his remarks to centrist Labour MP Ruth Smeeth at the launch of the Chakrabarti report.

Wadsworth had taken exception to Ms Smeeth being handed documents by a Daily Telegraph journalist. Ms Smeeth claimed he had used an ‘antisemitic trope’ – but attributed words to Wadsworth that he appeared not to have used. Her statement alleged that he had accused her of a “media conspiracy”, but there is no evidence of Wadsworth using those words or mentioning Ms Smeeth’s religion or ethnicity. Video footage later showed his words to have been:

I saw that the Telegraph handed a copy of a press release to Ruth Smeeth MP so you can see who is working hand in hand. If you look around this room, how many African, Caribbean and Asian people are there? We need to get our house in order.

Wadsworth insisted that he had only just found out who Smeeth was and had no idea that she was Jewish.

Wadsworth was initially summarily expelled from the Labour Party but reinstated and suspended when his lawyers wrote to Labour’s compliance unit pointing out that it had acted unlawfully and not in accordance with the party’s rules. Neither the expulsion letter nor the suspension notification mentioned allegations of antisemitism – that charge was added over six months later, in January 2017.

Since then, he has remained suspended – in spite of a public letter of support printed in the Guardian from twelve prominent supporters who included black and Jewish activists.

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However, Wadsworth’s case – which was referred by the NEC to Labour’s National Constitutional Committee – has finally been scheduled. In view of the circumstances surrounding his suspension, he has arranged full legal representation and his appeal to cover the cost of lawyers on the CrowdJustice website has raised, at the time of publication, £3,815 of its £5,000 target.

The case is due to be heard on 25 April.


  1. Why am I not suprised that Richard Angell the director of Progress was sitting next to Smeeth when she carried out that performance. I had never witnessed such a piece of forced acting until I saw Joanna Baxter turning on the tears several times in one day for a variety of news programmes. I will never forgive the right wing of the party for weaponising anti-semitism in order to try to bring down Corbyn. To create a sense of anti-antisemitism being more of a problem in the party than it is just for political reasons is utterly disgusting.

  2. Will make a payment today in support of Marc.

    Just as a side note, is it possible for right wing members of the Labour Party like Ruth Smeeth and Richard Angell to sink any lower?

    They have dishonoured the memories of those murdered in the Holocaust by persistently and intentionally misusing the charge of anti-semitism, using it as a trick to score cheap political points to further their own political agenda.

    They are a disgrace to humanity.

  3. Interesting that BBC’s John Pieenar followed Ruth Smeeth when she stormed out of the meeting. John ‘never-knowingly-missed-an-opportunity-to-put-the-boot-into-Corbyn’ Pieenar.

  4. @KateEMcCann was telegraph journalist live tweeting at report press conference BEFORE it started she tweeted that a “momentum activist” approached her while she was talking to ruth Smeeth and asked the name of the MP so clearly he had no idea who she was before event.

  5. Thank you Sbox for bring this to our attention again , have just pledged payment in support of Marc’s case . UP YOURS PROGRESS we will have fair justice for genuine Labour members and Smeeth clearly demonstrates her unfitness to hold the position of Labour MP with the appalling use of her faith to attack a fellow member in such a deceitful way. There is much work to do ,still, in clearing out these non representative MPs , there cannot be any doubt that there is no place for them in the revitalised Labour Party lead by Corbyn. Get with us or get out and take your despicable antics with you .

  6. The Grassroots Black Left are Stars!
    It is only my opinion but as a left wing democratic socialist I will be working to try to elect 620 left wing democratic Socialst Labour MPs to back another Star JC! Right wing Labour people are sociologically fascinating (and they often poorly read) they actually enjoy attacking the Left and ARE AFRAID OF BEING RADICAL) one wonders if history will know if they ever existed?

  7. Despite all the publicity and repeated referrals to this event Ruth Smeeth has never been asked to explain why she stated Marc Wadsworth had accused her of being in a “media conspiracy” when the video above was repeatedly shown on Sky News and a longer version accessible at the Independent website. It is still there at


    This lie was repeated in quotes in a column by The Guardian’s Gabby Hinsliff, and has never been corrected ( their “reader’s editor” has definitely been made aware). Then it was referred to by Polly Toynbee and the whole Greek chorus of right wingers as a fact, all of them unconcerned that a video of the events they referred to disproved their journalism.

    But of course the Guardian under Katherine Viner is committed to factual and trustworthy reporting.

    Maybe Ruth Smeeth should be asked to account for her inaccurate report of Mr Wadsworth’s comments at the NEC investigation? Or maybe a journalist could ask her?

    ( PS Anyone know who the Ron Manager lookalike is alongside John Pienaar saying “it’s antisemitism at the launch of an antisemitism report”?)

      1. Thank you. A remarkable instant interpretation of what he had just witnessed

        He is from Buzzfeed if I have googled correctly?
        So is he one of the unreliable fake news website journalists the government should be shutting down then ?

      2. Many thanks. Apologies to Paul Waugh.

        The same comments apply to Kevin Schofield (it definitely is Schofield as he seems to helpfully wear the same suit and tie whenever he appears in the media) except he previously worked for the sun.

        So he was of course, an accurate and objective source of facts before he moved to a website

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