Dozens of outstanding cases of alleged anti-Semitism within Labour have still to be concluded despite the party’s pledge to clear the bulk this month – with a hearing not yet scheduled to decide the fate of twice-suspended activist Jackie Walker.
Jewish News understand that the former Momentum vice-chair is currently on a lengthy holiday. With the summer recess about to kick off, the earliest a hearing could now be scheduled for is the autumn.
Walker, who has twice been suspended by Labour for comments about Jews and the Holocaust, is among the most high-profile cases yet to be concluded. She was suspended a second time in September 2016 after claiming during an anti-Semitism training session at party conference that she hadn’t found a definition she could work with. She also questioned why Holocaust Memorial Day didn’t also mark other genocides – when the annual commemoration in fact does. She did not respond to requst for comment.
Labour vowed in April to clear the “vast majority” of outstanding cases following talks between Jeremy Corbyn and the Board of Deputies and Jewish Leadership Council. Weeks earlier, the Labour leader told Jewish News that there were 70 cases that must be tackled “as quickly as possible”.
But, four months on, MP Keith Vaz, a member of the national executive committee, told the Jewish News there were still 50 outstanding cases.
Earlier this month the party set out measures that it claimed would speed up discliplinary processes. In an article for Jewish News, general secretary Jennie Formby announced that smaller, specially-trained panels will replace the disputes sub-committee which meets “too infrequently. Complaints will be actioned within a set time frame, she said.
A Labour spokesman said: “The Labour Party’s National Executive Committee recently approved wide-ranging reforms to strengthen and speed up procedures for dealing with complaints of anti-Semitism. Those changes are being implemented by the party as quickly as possible . Once in place these will make our processes more robust, efficient and fair, ensuring cases are dealt with quickly.”
In recent months, Ken Livingstone quit the party while disciplinary action was still pending and Marc Wadsworth was expelled for “grossly detrimental” behaviour after accusing MP Ruth Smeeth of working hand-in-hand with the Telegraph.