Labour’s ruling body has accepted Jeremy Corbyn’s plans for speeding up the way serious complaints of antisemitism are dealt with.
The National Executive Committee (NEC), meeting in London, agreed to endorse the proposal to allow fast-track expulsions in the most serious cases, a party spokesman said.
It is understood that the agreement came after a motion calling for a fully independent process for dealing with such cases was withdrawn.
There had been criticism of Mr Corbyn’s plan because of the proposed involvement of general secretary Jennie Formby who has been accused of interfering in complaints of antisemitism.
The spokesman said the proposal would be further developed to enable the NEC to finalise a “fair and legally robust” rule change that can be put to the party’s annual conference in September.
“The vast majority of Labour members are motivated by equality, justice and fairness, and despise antisemitism,” the spokesman said.
“The party is taking decisive and robust action against antisemitism and the rate at which antisemitism cases are dealt with has increased more than four-fold since Jennie Formby became general secretary.”
Under the proposed changes, the most serious allegations of antisemitism will be referred to a special panel including Ms Formby and NEC officers.
Earlier, the parliamentary chairwoman of the Jewish Labour Movement, Ruth Smeeth, warned any new process needed to be independent of the leadership if it was to command confidence.
“There is still no independence, in fact arguably political power over antisemitism cases is going to be consolidated by political supporters of Jeremy Corbyn,” the MP told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“I think we need a completely independent process that could restore faith for everybody.”
Jewish Labour Movement chair Mike Katz also berated the proposals put forward by Corbyn, saying he “can’t have any confidence” in them, and that they were “just rearranging the deckchairs.”
He said the NEC “is elected on factional slates on the basis of political patronage” with “an in-built majority for the left which does what the leadership of the Party tells it to”.
“We know we can’t rely on the NEC to make decisions in the interest of Jewish members. It’s failed for years to guard against factional and political interference.
“Nothing short of a fully independent process… is even going to begin to suggest that the Party leadership really cares about tackling institutional anti-Jewish racism.”
However Labour sources said it was unclear how such a system could work in practice.
“No other political party or trade union has outsourced its complaints process,” one source said.
“It is unclear how it could logistically work and comply with our responsibilities under data protection legislation. It could threaten the jobs of hard-working staff who have taken swift and robust action on cases.
“What’s important is that we are transparent about the way in which we are handling cases to build confidence and trust.
“That’s why we have published the data on disciplinary cases and are seeking to bring forward proposals for independent oversight of our processes.”
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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.