Royall inquiry: New evidence could result in at least two suspensions

Royall inquiry: New evidence could result in at least two suspensions

Corbyn's office tells Jewish News that specific allegations against a 'small number' of individuals will be passed to the party’s general secretary.

Justin Cohen is the News Editor at the Jewish News

Janet Royall, Baroness Royall of Blaisdon
Janet Royall, Baroness Royall of Blaisdon

Jeremy Corbyn’s office has told Jewish News that specific allegations against a “small number” of individuals will be passed by Baroness Royall to the Labour Party’s general secretary, in the wake of her report into allegations of anti-Semitism at the Oxford Union Labour Club [OULC].

The news came more than 24-hours after the peer presented the findings of her three-month investigation to the National Executive Committe.

However, controversy erupted over the party’s failure to publish the report in full, amid claims this gave the impression it was in “denial” and had squandered a golden opportunity.

On Wednesday night the party insisted its NEC had taken the decision in order not to risk identifying specific individuals.

It is believed that claims against at least two people were due to be passed to Labour’s general secretary Iain McNicol last night. If the party finds there is a case to answer, regular procedures will be followed – potentially including immediate suspensions.

Baroness Royall was tasked with investigating allegations at OULC after its vice-chairman Alex Chalmers resigned in disgust in February, claiming members “have some kind of problem with Jews”.

She submitted her full report to the NEC, which only chose to publish the summary and recommendations – leading to the chorus of disapproval. There is, however, room for cautious optimism, with the party agreeing to adopt 11 of the report’s recommendations ­– including training and support for those in leadership positions.

The peer – tasked with investigating claims by the party’s National Executive Committee – made a series of recommendations for both the Club and the national party.

In her report, published only in part on Tuesday, she recommends that Labour “consider adopting rule changes that will allow swifter action to deal with anti-Semitism.” Elsewhere, she suggests that Labour “adopt a definition of anti-Semitic discourse,” and that student Labour clubs be “trained” by the Jewish Labour Movement.

Royall, a former advisor to Labour leader Neil Kinnock who later acted as Leader of the House of Lords under Gordon Brown, said that she could not advise the esteemed Oxford club without the Labour Party first addressing its own issues.

“It is not possible to simply make recommendations about the OULC without considering how our party itself responds to these events,” she said. “I am therefore making recommendations about how Labour tackles antisemitism to minimise the chance of any repetition of incidents such as those described.”

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