A close ally of Jeremy Corbyn was criticised today for claiming the Met Police “murdered” a man whose shooting sparked riots across England.
Laura Murray, who is the Labour Party’s head of complaints and oversees anti-Semitism claims, tweeted that officers had murdered Mark Duggan despite an inquest jury finding that he was lawfully killed by the police.
Mr Duggan, 29, was shot dead in Tottenham by an armed officer after police received information he was a gang member and had collected a gun. His death in 2011 led to riots in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester and other English cities.
No firearm was found on Mr Duggan but the inquest jury came to its verdict on the basis that the officer had an “honest belief” that Mr Duggan was holding a gun and posed a threat.
Left-winger Ms Murray, 30, tweeted: “Riots began after the Met Police murdered Mark Duggan, for which not one person lost their job, let alone faced charges.” She added: “In Camden post-riots, black teenage boys were convicted on the basis of CCTV images of entirely different people.”
The message from July 28 was left online for two and a half weeks until the Evening Standard contacted the Labour Party. In that time it was retweeted nearly 100 times and potentially seen by thousands of people.
Former Tory party leader Iain Duncan Smith, said: “It’s alarming that the person tasked with keeping the behaviour of the Labour Party in check is so willing to aim false accusations at the police.” A Labour backbencher said: “It’s quite extraordinary that a senior figure in the Labour Party would have made such an inflammatory comment, especially after a jury has made a clear decision. This is harking back to the bad old days when Labour was seen as being hostile to the police.”
Labour said today Ms Murray had made a mistake and did not mean to say Mr Duggan had been murdered.
Ms Murray worked on Mr Corbyn’s leadership campaign and is the daughter of his key aide Andrew Murray, a former member of the Communist Party. In April she was made head of complaints despite previously being criticised for intervening in anti-Semitism inquiries led by party staff.
She is also facing legal action from Countdown presenter Rachel Riley after the pair became involved in an online spat over anti-Semitism this year.
Mr Duggan’s family are reported to be taking civil action against the Met.