Thursday 8 July 2021 2:45 pm

Expelled Labour members lose High Court antisemitism battle

Eight former and current Labour members have lost a High Court claim against the party over how its disciplinary body handled antisemitism complaints.

The group claimed their suspensions or official warnings over alleged antisemitism should be revoked as the party’s disciplinary process was unfair.

An Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report into Labour antisemitism found there was “a lack of a clear and fair process for respondents” to allegations of antisemitism.

The report, released in October last year, also found that the party under Jeremy Corbyn had been “responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination” and that the party had breached the Equalities Act.

Following the report, the party said it accepted the EHRC’s recommendations and findings in full, with leader Sir Keir Starmer saying Labour would establish “an independent complaints process as soon as possible”.

The eight claimants, who all deny they have made antisemitic comments, argued the party was trying to “row back from these commitments”, which were made in “clear and unequivocal public statements”.

The claimants wanted a declaration from the High Court that the party had acted unfairly by not closing investigations or revoking their suspension or expulsion after the party committed to following the EHRC’s recommendations.

However, Justice Butcher said the EHRC did not find that the party’s disciplinary processes were “fundamentally unfair or should be immediately discontinued”.

“The party’s statements that it accepted the findings and recommendations of the (EHRC) report did not amount to an acceptance that use for existing complaints of the current system…was unfair,” he said.

A Labour Party spokesman said: “We welcome this important ruling that confirms our right to determine how we handle complaints.

“We are getting on with the job of reforming our processes, structures and culture for the benefit of all of our members and to ensure Jewish people feel safe and welcome in our party.”