Jackie Walker has been referred to Labour’s national constitutional committee after a panel found she had a case to answer over comments on Holocaust Memorial Day and anti-Semitism.
The activist was filmed at a Jewish Labour Movement training event at the party’s annual conference saying Holocaust Memorial Day should include other genocides – which it already does. She also said she had not yet seen a definition of anti-Semitism she could “work with” and questioned why Jewish schools needed special security measures.
Walker was dropped as a vice-chair of Momentum after her comments attracted widespread condemnation.
The disputes panel – which last month decided against pursuing the case against those accused of harassment at Oxford Union Labour Club – chose today to pass the case to the next stage of the disciplinary process. It comes days after the University of Aberdeen withdrew an invitation to Walker, who had been due to speak to a student society. Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Ian Diamond said: “The request has been withdrawn and there are no plans to host her.”
The disputes panel also referred a number of other cases involving anti-Semitism to the NCC, including that of Marc Wadsworth, a prominent Labour Party activist in the 1980s, who heckled Jewish MP Ruth Smeeth during the press conference last year unveiling a report into anti-Semitism by Shami Chakrabarti, the former Liberty director who was later given a peerage and a seat on Jeremy Corbyn’s front bench.
Wadsworth was branded “disgusting” after accusing Smeeth of working “hand-in-hand” with the right-wing media, including the Telegraph, in a conspiracy to damage the Labour leader.
Reacting to the decision, Jeremy Newmark, Chair, Jewish Labour Movement said: “These reported decisions appear to be a step in the right direction and could be a critical move towards the Party beginning to turn a corner on this issue. However there is still a long way to go. Some of the cases referred to the NCC today date back over a year and should have been concluded a long time ago. Other cases previously referred by the NEC remain unheard by the NCC for many months. Meanwhile key promised changes to Party rules and processes and the implementation of many of the recommendations from the Royall and Chakrabarti reports remain ‘under discussion’. The rhetoric of “zero tolerance” needs to be matched with swift, firm and decisive action against anti-Semitism.”