Tom Watson calls for tougher rules on racism amid antisemitism row
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Tom Watson calls for tougher rules on racism amid antisemitism row

The deputy leader backed a motion that would auto-exclude members accused of racism, where there is 'irrefutable evidence'

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson. Photo credit: Nick Ansell/PA Wire
Labour deputy leader Tom Watson. Photo credit: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson has proposed to introduce tougher rules to make it easier to exclude members accused of antisemitism.

Watson was among five members of Labour’s governing body to propose a motion that would auto-exclude members accused of racism, where there is “irrefutable evidence” of discrimination.

The motion, to be debated at a meeting next Tuesday, calls on the NEC to bring forward forward rule changes to the annual conference. “Members who express racist, sexist, homophobic or transphobic views have no place in the Labour Party,” it states.

“We need radical change and fresh thinking in our disciplinary rules to swiftly and fairly root out the evils of racism in our party and restore confidence in our processes.”

It says the NEC resolves to “bring forward rules changes to this year’s conference that: automatically excludes a member from the party where there is irrefutable evidence of racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia or transphobia”.

And it says the NEC resolves to establish an “independent process to deal with disciplinary matters involving all forms of racism, sexism, misogyny, homophobia or transphobia.

“This is to also include the process for overseeing auto exclusion of members and any subsequent member appeals.

“We will invite the Bar Council, or another appropriate body, to appoint a person wholly independent from the Labour Party to devise the detail of this scheme, consult with Jewish and other communities and report back to the NEC.”

Labour MP Sir George Howarth and councillors James Asser, Nick Forbes and Alice Perry also signed the motion.

Labour has been rocked by a Panorama programme which reported claims senior figures, including Jeremy Corbyn’s communications chief Seumas Milne and general secretary Jennie Formby, had interfered in antisemitism investigations.

The party has denied the claims and written a complaint to the BBC.

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