LABOUR leadership contender Rebecca Long Bailey has been accused of telling ‘tall tales’ about her working class background.
The shadow business secretary has made much about her tough upbringing under Margaret Thatcher and even said she used to see her dad worrying about job losses at the docks.
She is not the first candidate to brag about her working class credentials, with millionaire Sir Keir Starmer doing so earlier in the week.
As well as saying it in interviews, the key ally of Jeremy Corbyn even put the claims on leaflets sent out to voters.
She declared: “They say your experiences shape who you are and mine certainly have.
“My dad, Jimmy, worked on the Salford docks and I grew up watching him worrying when round after round of redundancies were inflicted on the docks.”
However, the 40-year-old would have been just two years old when the docks closed in 1982.
One former docker declared this meant it was absolutely “impossible” she grew up watching the workers worry about job losses.
The controversy comes just days after it was revealed she had appointed self-declared Stalinist Alex Halligan as her campaign manager.
He has also previously expressed support for the dictatorship of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.
Luke Akehurst, secretary of the Labour First organisation, said: “Long Bailey should not be telling tall tales about her back story — still less appointing open Stalinists as some of her top staff.”
Ms Long Bailey has now defended her claims, but did not deny misleading voters.
Her spokesperson instead said: “Rebecca, like many others in the north, saw first hand the devastation created by Thatcher’s brutal economic regime.”
The controversy is another blow to the leadership hopeful, with private union polling of party members showing her behind rivals Sir Keir and Emily Thornberry.
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