Labour will launch an independent investigation into an internal report that has sparked vicious factional infighting.
An 860-page dossier that was reportedly compiled to submit to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) investigation into antisemitism in the party was leaked last night.
The report will now not be submitted to the EHRC, but it does reveal the party failed to adequately handle claims of antisemitism, with the report’s author writing “the GLU (governance and legal unit) did not act on most cases of antisemitism complaints received in the period”.
The report also published private Whatsapp messages from Labour party staff deriding Jeremy Corbyn after he was elected, with some staff showing an “abnormal intensity of factional opposition to the party leader”, according to the report’s author.
The report also names people who made complaints of racism or bigotry within the party.
New leader Sir Keir Starmer and deputy leader Angela Rayner said an internal investigation into the report would be launched.
A joint statement said: “We have seen a copy of an apparently internal report about the work of the Labour Party’s Governance and Legal Unit in relation to antisemitism. The content and the release of the report into the public domain raise a number of matters of serious concern.
“We will therefore commission an urgent independent investigation into this matter. This investigation will be instructed to look at three areas. First, the background and circumstances in which the report was commissioned and the process involved. Second, the contents and wider culture and practices referred to in the report. Third, the circumstances in which the report was put into the public domain.
“We have also asked for immediate sight of any legal advice the Labour Party has already received about the report.”
The report has sparked outrage among those on the left of the party, with social media abuzz with claims that moderate Labour party staff sabotaged the 2017 General Election campaign.
A group of socialist Labour MPs have signed a letter asking for the report to be released in full and for the contents to be discussed at a meeting of the party’s ruling National Executive Committe (NEC).
Included among the signatories are four members of Starmer’s newly appointed frontbench – Dan Carden, Imran Hussain, Rachael Maskell and Lloyd Russell-Moyle.
The report also triggered an avalanche of claims that its compilation and release has violated data protection laws and is defamatory in nature.
Mark Lewis, from London-based Patron Law, said he was already pursuing libel claims related to the release of the dossier.
He said: “I have been instructed to pursue libel claims and claims for breaches of data protection against those publishing the defamatory allegations in the leaked Labour report.
“Those who choose to repeat such allegations and put out private information have only got themselves to blame when the consequences catch up with them.”