The right-wing media and Labour’s opponents have been pushing a story that Liverpool Wavertree MP Luciana Berger has required police protection in Labour’s conference in Liverpool this week. The claim has been that this is a sad commentary on the state of the Labour Party and that this supports claims that the party is antisemitic.
This was also picked up by the broadcast media. Channel 4’s Jon Snow, who’d normally know to check facts before making an issue of something, pushed the point during a televised interview with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn:
But it is entirely untrue. Ms Berger has been seen – and snapped – on numerous occasions in and around the conference with no sign of any protection in sight:
Getty Images also captured an image of her on the conference grounds without company. The image has not been reproduced here for copyright reasons.
A statement by Merseyside Police on the matter has left room for speculation, because it specifies that she has had no armed protection, but the ‘MSM’ images that claim to show her protection involve uniformed police in bright ‘high-vis’ jackets rather than armed officers:
Merseyside Police has not provided Wavertree MP Luciana Berger with armed protection officers. The force has a highly visible policing operation in place for the duration of the conference. We are continually assessing risk and as a result we have given some additional support to a number of people attending the conference.
The statement also mentions ‘additional support to a number of people’.
The SKWAWKBOX called Merseyside Police to clarify the matter and was told that there has been no special protection detail for Ms Berger, armed or otherwise – and also that there has been no Met Police presence with her during the conference.
However, it does appear that she has been one of the ‘number of people’ receiving ‘additional support’.
SKWAWKBOX editor Steve Walker was near the north exit of the conference yesterday lunchtime when Ms Berger happened to walk by on her way out of the secured conference zone. She approached the exit without any company other than a colleague, but two uniformed officers in high-vis jackets did then fall into place in front of and behind her.
As she left.
In other words, Ms Berger has required no protection in the Conference, but appears to have been allocated a couple of officers to walk out with her and presumably accompany her to her transport.
Not that the picture Jon Snow showed to Jeremy Corbyn shows Ms Berger and an officer outside the conference perimeter, in Liverpool’s famous dock area:
Rather than protection from Labour members, as claimed by the media and by Corbyn’s opponents, she has been considered safe in the conference.
Luciana Berger has indeed been the target of threats and abuse. However, of what has become public the threats have been by antisemitic right-wingers such as John Nimmo, the man who was jailed for such threats in early 2017.
That Ms Berger has felt she needed protection is awful and no MP, Jewish or otherwise, should be in such a position – but the facts suggest that the one place Ms Berger felt she did not need protection was in Labour’s conference.
The very opposite of the claims made by dishonest media and echoed by those who believed them.
The SKWAWKBOX asked Ms Berger on Monday why she had not put the record straight. No response has been received.
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