|Member of Parliament|
for Stoke-on-Trent North
|Assumed office |
7 May 2015
|Preceded by||Joan Walley|
Ruth Lauren Anderson
29 June 1979
|Spouse(s)||Michael Smeeth (2004–present)|
|Alma mater||University of Birmingham|
Smeeth was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, to an "east London Jewish girl and a rugged Scottish trade unionist", as she told an interviewer in 2016. Her maternal family arrived in London during the 1890s, having escaped Russian pogroms. However, she had no contact with her father after her parents divorced when she was aged three. Smeeth attended school in Bristol, where her mother was later deputy general secretary for Amicus, and in her early life travelled extensively across the UK due to her parents' trade union work.
Smeeth graduated with a degree in Politics and International Relations from the University of Birmingham in 2000. She worked in public relations, and from January 2004 to September 2005 worked in a PR role at Sodexo, before moving to become director of public affairs and campaigns at the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) in November 2005. She later worked in PR for Nestlé. In 2010 she was appointed as director of anti-racist organisation Hope not Hate.
Smeeth was selected as Labour Party candidate for the Burton constituency in the 2010 general election, finishing 6,304 votes behind Andrew Griffiths of the Conservative Party. After winning an all-women shortlist, Smeeth was selected as Labour Party candidate for the Stoke-on-Trent North constituency, following the retirement of incumbent Labour MP Joan Walley. She was subsequently elected at the 2015 general election.
Smeeth backed Yvette Cooper in the 2015 Labour Leadership Election.On 27 June 2016, Smeeth resigned her post as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the shadow Northern Ireland and Scotland teams alongside others, in protest at Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.
In June 2016, Smeeth campaigned for the UK to remain in the European Union. Her constituency ended up voting for Brexit by 72.1%. In November 2016, following the UK's vote to leave the EU the previous June, Smeeth said "I’ll be voting for us to move to Article 50. The general public, especially in Stoke-on-Trent, sent a very clear message with some parts of my constituency voting 80/20 to leave. My whole priority and focus is how we can make it work".
Abuse and accusations of Labour Party antisemitism
Incident at the Chakrabarti Inquiry
On 30 June 2016, Smeeth called upon party leader Jeremy Corbyn to resign after Marc Wadsworth, an activist with Momentum Black Connexions, publicly accused her of working "hand-in-hand" with a journalist for The Daily Telegraph at the launch of the Chakrabarti Report into allegations of antisemitism and other forms of racism in the Labour Party. Smeeth, who is Jewish, claimed that the accusation was using "traditional antisemitic slurs to attack me for being part of a 'media conspiracy'" and criticised a lack of response from Corbyn or his office. Wadsworth said he was unaware that Smeeth is Jewish and refused to apologise. Jon Lansman, one of the founders of the pro-Corbyn group Momentum, commented later in the year: "It was awful; I was shocked by it. The attack was unacceptable, disgraceful".
On 25 April 2018, Smeeth was accompanied by a cordon of around 40 Labour MPs and peers to a hearing of Labour's National Constitutional Committee (NCC) into Wadsworth's future in the party. On 27 April 2018, Wadsworth was expelled from membership for bringing the Labour Party into disrepute.
It emerged at the beginning of September 2016 that Smeeth has been given police protection after receiving an antisemitic and homophobic death threat on Facebook. Smeeth said in a BBC Radio interview on 2 September that she has received 25,000 pieces of abuse since the end of June, including 20,000 in a 12-hour period. "It’s vile, it’s disgusting and it’s done in the name of the leader of the Labour party, which makes it even worse", Smeeth said during the Victoria Derbyshire television programme. Corbyn "should be naming and shaming some of the worst perpetrators who are doing it in his name". A spokesman said: "Jeremy condemns all abuse, and no one responsible for it is a genuine supporter of Jeremy's. He has repeatedly called for a kinder, gentler politics".
Interviewed by Charlotte Edwardes for the London Evening Standard in September 2016, she said antisemitic incidents occurred while Ed Miliband was Labour's leader, "but not like this. I’ve never seen anti-Semitism in Labour on this scale. There were one or two incidents before and the reason why they were so shocking is that there were only one or two. Now the sheer volume of it has made it normal".
Appointed vice-chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party in 2017, Smeeth said at a meeting of the Jewish Labour Movement in early September 2017 that she now has weekly meetings with Corbyn. According to her, the Labour leader is "incredibly uncomfortable" with antisemitism, but the allegations concerning its presence in the Labour Party turn his "whole political being upside down" because they are the opposite of "everything he believes himself to be"; however, for Corbyn "it was much easier to try and put that in a box and pretend it's not happening".
- "No. 61961". The London Gazette. 19 June 2017. p. 11785.
- Edwardes, Charlotte (20 September 2016). "Ruth Smeeth: 'I've never seen anti-Semitism in Labour like this, it's normal now'". London Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 22 September 2016. Retrieved 20 September 2016.
- John Woodhouse meets Stoke-on-Trent North Labour candidate Ruth Smeeth Archived 13 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine The Sentinel, 10 May 2014
- "About Me". ruthsmeeth.org.uk. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
- "Smeeth exits Sodexho for pro-Israel lobby group". PR Week. 9 September 2005. Archived from the original on 5 April 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
- "Labour chooses election fighter". Uttoxeter News. 28 November 2007. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
- Newest Jewish MP Ruth Smeeth says victory was 'bittersweet' Archived 29 August 2016 at the Wayback Machine The Jewish Chronicle Online, Marcus Dysch, 12 May 2015]
- "Labour's pro-Israel MPs face wipe-out". The Jewish Chronicle. 20 April 2017.
- "Con Gain from Lab". BBC News. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
- James, Laura (5 April 2014). "Ruth Smeeth to replace Joan Walley as Labour Parliamentary candidate". The Sentinel. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
- Smeeth, Ruth (16 October 2015). "For too many kids, school holidays aren't times of fun. They're times of hunger". New Statesman. Progressive Media International. Archived from the original on 7 August 2016. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
- Tree, Nicola (10 May 2016). "An anniversary in opposition: new female Labour MPs on their first year in Parliament". New Statesman. Progressive Media International. Archived from the original on 28 July 2016. Retrieved 3 July 2016.
- "Who nominated who for the 2015 Labour leadership election?". New Statesman. Progressive Media International. 15 June 2015. Archived from the original on 5 July 2015. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
- MP for Stoke-on-Trent North resigns from shadow cabinet post Archived 28 June 2016 at the Wayback Machine ITV News, Mon 27 June 2016
- John Harris and John Domokos. "Brexit will hurt your city, Labour tells core voters – but no one's listening | Politics". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-07-26.
- Walsh, Gemma (4 November 2016). "Three Stoke-on-Trent MPs react to High Court Brexit ruling". StaffsLive. Archived from the original on 11 November 2016. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
- McSmith, Andy (30 June 2016). "Labour activist who berated MP Ruth Smeeth says he did not know she was Jewish and denies Momentum links". The Independent. Independent Print Limited. Archived from the original on 2 July 2016. Retrieved 2 July 2016.
- Davis, Barney (1 July 2016). "Marc Wadsworth who left MP Ruth Smeeth in tears over 'anti-Semitism' refuses to apologise". London Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 2 July 2016. Retrieved 2 July 2016.
- Marshall, Tom (30 June 2016). "Labour MP Ruth Smeeth storms out of anti-Semitism report launch 'in tears'". London Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 30 June 2016. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
- Chakelian, Anoosh (30 June 2016). "Jewish Labour MP Ruth Smeeth was reduced to tears at Labour's anti-Semitism inquiry press conference". New Statesman. Archived from the original on 1 July 2016. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
- Smeeth, Ruth. "Statement on today's launch of the Chakrabarti Report". Ruth Smeeth MP. Archived from the original on 4 July 2016. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
- Peled, Daniella (20 September 2016). "The Jewish Labour Gurus Striving to Turn Jeremy Corbyn's Reputation Around". Haaretz. Archived from the original on 20 September 2016. Retrieved 20 September 2016.
- Forrester, Kate (25 April 2018). "Labour MPs Rally Around Colleague Ruth Smeeth Ahead Of Marc Wadsworth Anti-Semitism Hearing". HuffPost. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
- Elgot, Jessica (27 April 2018). "Labour activist Marc Wadsworth expelled from party over antisemitism row". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
- Johnston, Chris (1 September 2016). "Police investigate antisemitic and homophobic online abuse targeting MP". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2 September 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
- Sugarman, Daniel (2 September 2016). "Counter-terror police protecting Jewish MP after antisemitic death threat". The Jewish Chronicle. Archived from the original on 3 September 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
- Hughes, Laura (2 September 2016). "Jewish Labour MP reveals she received more than 20,000 pieces of abuse in just 12 hours". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2 September 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
- Mason, Rowena. "Jewish Labour MP: Corbyn must name and shame online abusers". 2 September 2016. Archived from the original on 2 September 2016. Retrieved 3 September 2016.
- Harpin, Lee (4 September 2017). "Corbyn "can't get head around" antisemitism, says leading Jewish MP". The Jewish Chronicle. Archived from the original on 2 October 2017. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
- Profile at Parliament of the United Kingdom
- Contributions in Parliament at Hansard 2010–present
- Voting record at Public Whip
- Record in Parliament at TheyWorkForYou
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
| Member of Parliament
for Stoke-on-Trent North