‘Average week would see dozens, if not hundreds, of complaints’

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‘Average week would see dozens, if not hundreds, of complaints’

New revelations of what it was like to deal with antisemitism issues at Labour HQ made by a complaints officer who quit party this year.

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Jeremy Corbyn. Photo credit: Aaron Chown/PA Wire
Jeremy Corbyn. Photo credit: Aaron Chown/PA Wire

New shocking revelations of what it was like to deal with antisemitism issues at Labour Party headquarters were made this week by a complaints officer who left the party only three months ago.

Tim Dexter, who, like other whistleblowers who appeared in last week’s BBC Panorama programme, has breached his non-disclosure agreement in order to speak out, told the Sunday Times that “within an average week we would see dozens, if not hundreds of complaints of antisemitism being received by the party. Sometimes this could be the most vile, disgusting of things, where people were openly talking about the Holocaust, how it wasn’t a bad thing, how it was deserved, moving through to how Jews were ‘naturally conspiratorial’ or greedy”.

Dexter, who is not Jewish, said that the power to make initial decisions on cases lay with the disputes team. “The complaints team would pass it on to the unit if they felt there was something to answer.” But that power, he said, was taken away from the disputes team and given to an individual “who would be able unilaterally to decide whether any suspension was required”.

Quite regularly, Dexter said, decisions would come back “which seemed to be incredibly lenient.” Only complaints which had become public and were reported in the press had attracted any action, he claimed.

The former Labour employee said that there had been repeated refusal, in one case, to suspend a man who had described two Jewish Labour MPs as “Zionist cum buckets”. He also alleged that Thomas Gardiner, a senior Corbyn ally, had said it was “ridiculous” that the party had to adopt a zero-tolerance approach to antisemitism, and that MPs who had apologised for historic remarks should not have to face further action. Labour has said “categorically” that no such conversation took place.

Dexter, who said he felt “guilt” at the way in which the processes were carried out, resigned in April but was not permitted to work out his notice and was, he said, marched out of the office after being accused of breaching data roles.

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