Sir Keir Starmer: We have failed Jewish people

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Sir Keir Starmer: We have failed Jewish people

Labour leader reacts to EHRC report saying it is 'a day of shame' for the party, while restating commitment to change party processes and culture to tackle it

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer delivers his keynote speech during the party's online conference from the Danum Gallery, Library and Museum in Doncaster.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer delivers his keynote speech during the party's online conference from the Danum Gallery, Library and Museum in Doncaster.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said the EHRC’s findings marks “a day a shame for the Labour Party” which now “needs a culture change”.

Jeremy Corbyn’s successor heralded the “comprehensive, rigorous, and thoroughly professional report” as he called for an overhaul of the party’s handling of antisemitism claims.

“Both in terms of unlawful harassment through the acts of our agents and unlawful indirect discrimination. The report’s conclusions are clear and stark” he said. “They leave no room for equivocation”.

He said the report finds “A culture that is, and I quote: “at odds with the Labour Party’s commitment to zero-tolerance of antisemitism”; And – perhaps most telling of all: “a clear breakdown of trust between the Labour Party, many of its members and the Jewish community.”

Saying he “found this report hard to read” and that it “is a day of shame for the Labour Party”, the Labour leader said “we have failed Jewish people.”

He said, “on behalf of the Labour Party: I am truly sorry for all the pain and grief that has been caused. To Jewish people, our Jewish members, our long-standing Jewish affiliate, JLM. To the people driven out of our Party, the Jewish Members driven out of Parliament, including Louise Ellman and Luciana Berger.And to the members of Labour Party staff who spoke out, I want to say this: I know how hard these last few years have been for you.”

Promising action to rid Labour of the scourge of Jew-hate, he said his party   “accepts this report in full and without qualification” and it will “implement all the recommendations.. in full”

Committing to “establish an independent complaints process” which will ” “be in place as soon as possible in the New Year”, Starmer  stressed that no party officials “will have any involvement in the outcome of complaints initiated under the Labour Party processes”, after the EHRC outlined interference under the precious leader.

“We are already addressing the backlog of antisemitism cases” he said, “but we will go much further….Because – as the report makes clear – this cannot be solved just by changing the Labour Party’s processes and structures. We also need a culture change in the Labour Party.”

“Under my leadership, zero-tolerance of antisemitism will mean precisely that. If you’re antisemitic, you should be nowhere near this Party. And we’ll make sure you’re not.

And if – after all the pain, all the grief, and all the evidence in this report, there are still those who think there’s no problem with antisemitism in the Labour Party. That it’s all exaggerated, or a factional attack. Then, frankly, you are part of the problem too. And you should be nowhere near the Labour Party either.

Saying the report must be a “line in the sand”, Starmer said “there can be no more missed opportunities. No more denials or excuses. Under my leadership, Labour will act decisively against antisemitism in all its forms.

He concluded, saying: “I will only consider it a success when those members who left our Party because of anti-semitism feel safe to return.

And when we no longer hear the words “Labour” and “antisemitism” in the same sentence.”

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