Labour’s new leader Keir Starmer has pledged on Wednesday to set “new standards” on the party’s handling of antisemitism in a video call with Jewish groups.
Starmer, who was joined by Labour’s new deputy leader Angela Rayner, spoke to representatives from the Board of Deputies, Jewish Leadership Council, Community Security Trust and Jewish Labour Movement.
During the call, the former shadow Brexit secretary vowed to start work on setting up an independent disciplinary process, cooperate with the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s investigation into allegations of antisemitism in the party, and order a report on all outstanding disciplinary cases this week.
Starmer discussed with representatives from the Jewish Labour Movement his “ambition to roll out training of all Labour Party staff in as soon as practically possible.”
“Today, I repeated once again the apology I made as soon as I was elected leader,” he said on Wednesday.
“Over the last few years, we have failed the Jewish community on antisemitism. Labour is a proudly anti-racist party and, going forward, it will not be enough to ‘pass the test’ on antisemitism. We need to set new standards for best practice,” he added.
The Board of Deputies president Marie van der Zyl, Jewish Leadership Council chair Jonathan Goldstein, Community Security Trust chair Gerald Ronson and Jewish Labour Movement Chair Mike Katz issued a joint statement after the call.
“While we would have fully understood the need to focus entirely on coronavirus at this time, Keir Starmer has already achieved in four days more than his predecessor in four years in addressing antisemitism within the Labour Party,” they said.
They added: “As we discussed with Keir [Starmer] and Angela [Rayner], we want to have a normal relationship with Labour whereby we can discuss the full range of issues affecting our community, from religious freedom to Israel, from Jewish schools to poverty, from refugees to the environment and not just antisemitism.
“This has certainly been a good start. If the new Labour leadership continues in this way, we can work together to make the changes that will make Labour a proudly anti-racist party once again.”