Labour’s day of shame: ‘Damning’ inquiry into party’s anti-Semitism scandals found that the party broke the law under Jeremy Corbyn
- The Equality and Human Rights Commission launched an investigation last year
- The inquiry is expected to recommend that Labour should set up an entirely independent complaints process
- It could also conclude the party’s flawed complaints procedure breached equalities legislation
An investigation into anti-Semitism in Labour by the Equality and Human Rights Commission has found the party committed unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination.
The party has been accused of breaking the law on three counts, harassment, political interference in complaints and failure of processes.
It found ‘serious failings in leadership and an inadequate process for handling antisemitism complaints’.
Mr Corbyn pictured leaving his house in North London this morning, wearing a face mask incorrectly
The EHRC launched an investigation last year into claims that the party under Jeremy Corbyn had victimised Jews and turned a blind eye to hard-Left racism.
It was only the second time such a probe had been opened into a political party – the first was into the BNP.
Speaking last night before the report was released, Labour’s health spokesman Jonathan Ashworth said: ‘I obviously don’t know what’s in the report, because it’s confidential, but that was a shameful period in our history, and we have to be clear that we are never going back to that.
‘We will do everything we can to repair relations with the Jewish community who are understandably and quite rightly hurt by the Labour party’s failure to deal with this in recent years.’
Asked if the investigation was the most shaming moment in the party’s history, he replied: ‘It probably was, yes’.
Mr Ashworth told Times Radio: ‘A lot of this was about the fact that there was just a refusal to acknowledge the issue.’
The inquiry is expected to recommend that Labour should set up an entirely independent complaints process to ensure interference by senior figures in racism cases can no longer occur.
It could also conclude the party had behaved unlawfully and that its flawed complaints procedure breached equalities legislation.
Ed Balls, the former Shadow Chancellor, described the failure to deal with anti-Semitism as a ‘tragedy and a disaster’.
‘I don’t think Jeremy Corbyn is an anti-Semite,’ he said last night.
‘He’s not a racist man, but he undoubtedly not only stood with anti-Semitic people, but said things which were anti-Semitic.’
However, Mr Balls added: ‘Keir Starmer is going to want to move on. I don’t think Keir Starmer will or should kick Jeremy Corbyn out of the Labour Party.’
According to the Jewish Labour Movement’s submission to the inquiry, Jewish members faced vile abuse and Mr Corbyn’s office interfered in anti-Semitism cases.
It listed nine cases in which the former leader had personally ‘engaged in’ anti-Semitism, and concluded that the party was ‘no longer a safe space for Jewish people or for those who stand up against anti-Semitism’.
The saga began in 2017 when the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism approached the EHRC after the Daily Mail revealed that the Labour conference fringe had played host to a speaker who said the Holocaust should be open to debate.
Gideon Falter, the group’s chief executive, said: ‘The party must be forever changed after this episode so this can never happen again.
‘Those responsible remain in the party and must be held to account if Sir Keir Starmer is to tear anti-Semitism ‘out by its roots’, as he has promised.’
Lord Mann, a former Labour MP and the Government’s anti-Semitism tsar, said: ‘People are optimistic that this report is going to properly identify the shambles at the top of the Labour Party and creates the opportunity for Keir Starmer to permanently erase the worst years in Labour history.’
Labour received a copy of the report in July, but it has remained under wraps over the summer so that those named in its pages have a right to reply.
Fiona Sharpe, of Labour Against Anti-Semitism, said: ‘Our expectations are that it will be damning for the Labour Party.’
Earlier this week Mr Corbyn’s former chief of staff said she was proud of Labour’s record on anti-Semitism.
Karie Murphy, who has herself been accused of meddling in anti-Semitism cases, claimed: ‘Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, anti-Semites were removed from the Labour Party more quickly, transparently and effectively than ever before.
‘As his former chief of staff, I’m proud of that record.’
Labour tainted by anti-Semitism accusations during Jeremy Corbyn’s five years as leader
The anti-Semitism scandal has dogged Labour since Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader in 2015.
Here is a timeline of the controversies:
Labour MP Naz Shah is suspended for anti-Semitic posts – including one in which she appeared to endorse calls for Israelis to be deported to the US.
She apologises and is given a formal warning.
Ken Livingstone goes on the radio to defend Ms Shah – but sparks fresh controversy by claiming that Hitler supported Zionism.
He is suspended by Labour but refuses to apologise and has repeated the claim many times.
He eventually quits Labour two years later, saying his suspension has become a distraction.
A two-month inquiry by civil liberties campaigner Shami Chakrabarti finds that Labour is not overrun by anti-Semitism.
But the launch is overshadowed when Jewish Labour MP Ruth Smeeth flees it in tears after being accused by Corbyn supporter Marc Wadsworth of colluding with the press.
Critics accuse the report of being a whitewash and Ms Chakrabarti is widely criticised for accepting a peerage from Jeremy Corbyn shortly afterwards.
The Home Affairs Select Committee says Labour is guilty of incompetence over its handling of anti-Semitism and of creating a safe space for people with ‘vile attitudes towards Jewish people’.
It is revealed that Jeremy Corbyn defended an artist who painted an anti-Semitic mural and said the offensive art should be removed.
He apologises saying he did not properly look at the picture before he made the post.
Jewish leaders take the unprecedented step of holding a demonstration outside Parliament protesting Mr Corbyn’s failure to tackle anti-Semitism.
Several Labour MPs address the crowds.
Marc Wadsworth was expelled from Labour after being accused of anti-Semitism in 2018
Marc Wadsworth is expelled from Labour after being accused of anti-Semitism.
Meanwhile, Labour Jewish MPs tell of the anti-Semitic abuse they have suffered in a powerful parliamentary debate – and round on their leader for failing to tackle it.
The Labour leadership sparks fresh anger by failing to fully adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism
Peter Willsman, a strong ally of Jeremy Corbyn, is secretly taped ranting that Jewish ‘Trump fanatics’ invented the anti-Semitism storm engulfing Labour.
In an angry diatribe at a meeting of Labour’s ruling executive committee, Peter Willsman said he was ‘amazed’ there was evidence party members hated Jews.
In an angry diatribe at a meeting of Labour’s ruling executive committee, he said he was ‘amazed’ there was evidence party members hated Jews.
He claimed ‘some of these people in the Jewish community support Trump – they are Trump fanatics’ before shouting: ‘So I am not going to be lectured to by Trump fanatics making up duff information without any evidence at all.’
Jeremy Corbyn issues a video insisting he is committed to tackling the racism – but it is panned by Jewish leaders.
Corbynistas mount a social media campaign to get deputy Labour leader Tom Watson to quit after he criticises the party’s handling of anti-Semitism.
The Daily Mail exclusively publishes photos of Jeremy Corbyn holding a wreath at a ceremony where a terrorist linked to the Munich massacre was honoured.
The Labour leader insists he was there to honour others killed – but faces fresh calls to quit over the scandal.
Nine MPs including Luciana Berger, Joan Ryan and Ian Austin are among those who quit the Labour Party with broadsides at inaction over anti-Semitism under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
Berger, the Jewish Liverpool Wavertree MP, had faced a barrage of attacks from members of her own local party as well as wider abuse, said Labour had become ‘institutionally anti-Semitic’.
Berger, the Jewish Liverpool Wavertree MP, faced a barrage of attacks from members of her own local party as well as wider abuse, said Labour had become ‘institutionally anti-Semitic’
Enfield MP Joan Ryan was attacked because she was the chairwoman of Labour friends of Israel. And Dudley’s Ian Austen, who adoptive father was Jewish, said he had become ‘ashamed’ of what the party had become under Mr Corbyn’s leadership.
MP Chris Williamson, a close ally of Mr Corbyn, quits the party after being blocked from restanding in his Derby North seat at the general election. He had been suspended after saying that Labour had been ‘too apologetic’ about anti-Semitism.
Mr Corbyn later faced an anti-Semitism row of his own after a major intervention by the Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis. He accused the left-winger of allowing the ‘poison’ of anti-Semitism to take root in Labour. His comments were later backed up by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Mr Corbyn declined repeatedly to apologise to British Jews in a searing interview by the BBC’s Andrew Neil and said that Mr Mirvis was ‘wrong’.
Labour is humiliated in a general election it voted to trigger. Mr Corbyn leads the party to its worst defeat since the 1930s, handing Boris Johnson an 80-seat majority. Among the losses are a broad swathe of Red Wall seats – Labour heartlands that have voted for the party for decades.
Mr Corbyn announces he will step down as party leader, triggering a leadership election. He backs Corbynite shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey to succeed him.
Moderate former shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer beats Ms Long-Bailey to the leadership, but he retains her as shadow education secretary in his shadow cabinet.
That month an internal party report finds that anti-Semitism was so rife within Labour that some members’ views were like those of neo-Nazis.
Investigators said prejudice against Jews became common within the party and revealed Mr Corbyn did little to help discipline offenders until two years ago.
The report highlighted ‘a litany of mistakes and missed opportunities’ amid strained relations between Mr Corbyn’s office and Labour HQ, but a better approach to anti-Semitism complaints had since been established.
Nearly 900 members have been investigated or suspended for anti-Jewish hate in the past three years with 63 expelled.
Sir Keir sacks Ms Long-Bailey after she praised an interview in which actress Maxine Peake peddled an ‘anti-Semitic conspiracy theory’.
The shadow education secretary posted a link to an interview in which Peake – one of her constituents – claimed that US police learned ‘neck-kneeling’ restrain techniques used on murdered black man George Floyd from Israeli spies. The remark was described as ‘textbook casual anti-Semitism’ by Labour MPs.
Ms Long-Bailey sparked fury by describing the ex-Communist star of TV programmes including Shameless as an ‘absolute diamond’. She later tried to excuse the message by claiming she had not been endorsing all the content of the article.
Labour makes an unreserved apology to seven whistleblowers smeared by the party after they raised concerns over anti-Semitism.
Sir Keir Starmer agrees to pay ‘substantial damages’ to former employees who contributed to a BBC probe into whether the party had victimised Jews.
In a humiliating statement in the High Court, the party accepted it had made ‘false and defamatory’ comments about the whistleblowers and had caused them ‘distress, embarrassment and hurt’.
The party also paid damages to John Ware, the veteran journalist behind the Panorama programme. It is believed the affair cost Labour up to £500,000 in legal costs and damages.
But hard-Left former leader Mr Corbyn said it was ‘disappointing’ that the party had settled the claim, adding that it was a ‘political decision, not a legal one’ – prompting the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism to call for him to be suspended from the Labour Party.