Leaked document from Labour NEC reveals party’s plans to tackle anti-Semitism

Leaked document from Labour NEC reveals party’s plans to tackle anti-Semitism

File from the National Executive Committee claims the party backs anonymised complaints, strict deadlines and a three-member panel

Jeremy Corbyn with Shami Chakrabarti
Jeremy Corbyn with Shami Chakrabarti

A leaked document from Labour’s top internal body has revealed how the party plans to get on top of an anti-Semitism crisis that saw its support amid Jewish populations plummet in local elections last month.

The report for the National Executive Committee (NEC), leaked to HuffPost UK, backs anonymised complaints, strict deadlines for cases and the set-up of “specific three-member panels to deal with anti-Semitism”.

When a case is deemed serious, a hearing is scheduled in front of members of the National Constitutional Committee (NCC). In January a dedicated staff member was employed to compile hearing bundles “to deal with the backlog,” and in April a “team of lawyers” was drafted in to help.

However, the report’s authors note that “NCC cases are delayed because they have taken on a litigious nature, meaning that respondents sometimes invest in extensive legal representation and take out court injunctions to delay cases to provide maximum time for solicitors to prepare cases”.

They also suggest that the name of anyone accused of anti-Semitism be removed from investigations reports being considered by the NEC Disputes Panel, in the same way that the names of those accused of sexual harassment are redacted.

The authors cite concerns that cases are not being dealt with in a consistent manner “due to political forces influencing decisions”.

The six-page document, marked ‘Confidential,’ lists a series of concerns about the way Labour processes allegations of anti-Semitism, ranging from timeliness to transparency, but notes that there is still no in-house Counsel, a recommendation made by Baroness Chakrabarti two years ago.

Among the 13 recommendations the report makes are process-driven improvements such as ‘Service Level Agreements’ on the length of time each stage of the disciplinary process should take, as well as on training and “decision-making matrices” for panels, to help ensure fairness.

HuffPost UK reported that a former aide to party chairman Ian Lavery is understood to be the staff member in the office of new General-Secretary Jennie Formby who is now tasked with the job of signing off the disciplinary process with either a written letter or “administrative suspension”.

Formby and Corbyn met Jewish community leaders in April, the latter describing it as “positive and constructive”. However the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council said it was “disappointing” and “a missed opportunity”.


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