Ex-EHRC chief claims criticism of Labour antisemitism led to suspension
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Ex-EHRC chief claims criticism of Labour antisemitism led to suspension

Anti-racism campaigner says move may be seen as 'payback by Corbynistas for public criticisms I made of the leadership’s failure to tackle antisemitism in the party'

Trevor Phillips (Wikipedia/Author: Heinrich Böll Stiftung/:Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode )
Trevor Phillips (Wikipedia/Author: Heinrich Böll Stiftung/:Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/legalcode )

A former head of the country’s equalities watchdog has been suspended from the Labour Party over allegations of Islamophobia, claiming his vocal criticism of the party for antisemitism led to the action.

Trevor Phillips, an anti-racism campaigner who previously chaired the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), faces an investigation and could be expelled from the party.

The Times reported that he is being investigated over past comments including remarks on Pakistani Muslim men sexually abusing children in northern British towns.

The paper said many of his statements date back years but that Labour’s general secretary Jennie Formby suspended him as a matter of urgency to “protect the party’s reputation”.

Mr Phillips was among 24 public figures who last year declared their refusal to vote for the Labour Party because of its association with antisemitism.

The EHRC is investigating the Labour Party over claims it failed to tackle its antisemitism problem, and is due to issue its report in the summer.

In a letter to the Guardian in November, the group said the path to a more tolerant society “must encompass Britain’s Jews with unwavering solidarity” and said Jeremy Corbyn has “a long record of embracing antisemites as comrades”.

Mr Phillips told The Times there was no suggestion that he has done anything unlawful and “no one inside or outside the Labour Party has ever suggested that I have broken any rules”.

Writing in an opinion piece for the paper, Mr Phillips said: “If this is how Labour treats its own family, how might it treat its real opponents if it ever gains power again?

“It would be a tragedy if, at the very moment we most need a robust and effective opposition, our nation had to endure the spectacle of a great party collapsing into a brutish, authoritarian cult.”

He added that some will see the action as “as payback by Corbynistas for public criticisms I made of the leadership’s failure to tackle antisemitism in the party. Another possibility is that it’s an attempt to scare the EHRC Commission, which I used to lead and which is investigating Labour’s handling of antisemitism.”

A Jewish Labour Movement Spokesperson: “We await the outcomes of Labour’s leadership election and the EHRC investigation before we can begin to take the Labour Party’s disciplinary process seriously. We need the fully independent process to which all leadership candidates have committed to implement.”

A Labour Party spokeswoman said: “The Labour Party takes all complaints about Islamophobia extremely seriously and they are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures, and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken.”

read more:
comments