Labour bracing itself for release of EHRC antisemitism report
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Labour bracing itself for release of EHRC antisemitism report

Equality and Human Rights Commission launched its probe in May 2019 and has looked at the party’s disciplinary processes and response to complaints.

Sir Keir Starmer (left) alongside former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (centre)
Sir Keir Starmer (left) alongside former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (centre)

Labour is bracing itself for the result of a human rights investigation into how it has handled the antisemitism crisis that has rocked the party.

The much-anticipated release of a report into the situation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to be released on Thursday is likely to cause more turmoil in the party’s ranks.

It comes after years of complaints over how allegations of antisemitism were dealt with under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

The human rights body launched its probe in May 2019 and has looked at the party’s disciplinary processes and response to complaints.

The Guardian reported the human rights body will recommend an independent complaints system be set up in the wake of the controversy, but that direct disciplinary action against high profile figures in the party should not be taken.

Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said, ahead of the release of the report, that the antisemitism controversy had been a “shameful” period in the party’s history.

On the eve of its release, former Labour foreign secretary David Miliband said that the way Mr Corbyn dealt with the situation was “appalling” and described the period as a “dreadful, dark, shameful period”.

He told Times Radio: “I’m not going to claim I know what’s in Jeremy Corbyn’s heart.

“What I’m clear about is that he failed to deal with this issue in a way that was appalling in all its aspects.

“Whether it be cartoons or statements, they reflected a complete blindness to the issue and to the importance of it.

“It’s a dreadful, dark, shameful period and the failure to be clear, the failure to be decisive, the failure to say that anyone who is an antisemite isn’t welcome in the Labour Party, the failure to clear that out is a source of shame for me as someone who’s still a member of the Labour Party.”

A draft version of the EHRC report was sent to Labour in July as, under the Equality Act 2010, the subject of an investigation by the commission must be given at least 28 days in order to make representations of its findings before the final report is released.

The release comes after Mr Corbyn’s former aide Karie Murphy insisted that the party removed antisemites “more quickly, transparently and effectively than ever before” during his tenure.

Sir Keir Starmer, who replaced Mr Corbyn as Labour leader in April, has said tackling the issue of antisemitism and rebuilding trust with the Jewish community is a top priority for him.

Both Mr Corbyn and Sir Keir are expected to make statements after the EHRC ruling is made public.

The probe follows a tumultuous few years within the party which has seen some MPs quit its ranks amid claims that allegations of antisemitism were not being taken seriously by the leadership of the time.

Allegations involving the former mayor of London Ken Livingstone are believed to be among those examined by the probe.

And veteran MP Dame Margaret Hodge had a robust exchange with Mr Corbyn about his handling of antisemitic allegations in the party as he left the Commons chamber in 2018.

It emerged earlier this year that Labour would pay “substantial damages” to whistleblowers who contributed to a TV expose of its handling of antisemitism.

The move triggered a clash between party leader Sir Keir and his predecessor Mr Corbyn.

The spat came when the party issued an unreserved apology over “defamatory and false allegations” made following a BBC Panorama investigation.

Mr Corbyn said it was “disappointing” that the party had settled the claim, adding that it was a “political decision, not a legal one”.

At the time, the move was seen as a clear sign Sir Keir wanted to draw a distinction between the party he leads and the one over which Mr Corbyn presided.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments