Labour leader Keir Starmer has said today is a “day of shame for the Labour party”, after an investigation into antisemitism within the party found it was responsible for three breaches of the 2010 Equality Act.
The probe, which was carried out by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said the party was responsible for “unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination”.
The three breaches highlighted by the report relate to:
- Political interference in antisemitism complaints.
- Failure to provide adequate training to those handling antisemitism complaints.
The report said that it had found 23 instances of inapproproate involvement by the Leader of the Opposition’s Office (LOTO) in the 70 cases investigated.
“The evidence shows that staff from the Leader of the Opposition’s Office (LOTO) were able to influence decisions on complaints, especially decisions on whether to suspend someone”, it said.
“Sometimes these decisions were made because of likely press interest rather than any clear formal criteria,” it added.
“The Labour party adopted a practice of political interference in certain complaints and the evidence indicates that it occurred more regularly in antisemitism cases”.
In addition, it found that the party had “inadequate processes” for handling complaints.
In a press conference after the report’s publication, Starmer said he was “truly sorry” for its findings.
“It is a day of shame for the Labour party. We have failed to speak with our members, our supporters, and the British public,” said the Labour leader.
“I am truly sorry for all the pain and grief that has been caused to Jewish people, active members, our long standing Jewish affiliate JLM, [and] to the people driven out of our party.”
Starmer added that the Labour Party would accept the report in full and without qualifications. The Labour leader said the report drew a “line in the sand” and highlighted that the party needed a “culture change”.
“We’ve made progress, and it will intensify today… If you’re anti semitic, you should be nowhere near this party. I will make sure you’re not,” he added.
Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone is one of two individuals named as being responsible for unlawful harassment. The other is Rossendale councillor Pam Bromley.
The EHRC investigation was launched in May last year after receiving complaints from a number of different organisations and individuals.
Under former leader Jeremy Corbyn the Labour party was repeatedly accused of anti-Semitism.
New leader Sir Keir Starmer has said that tackling internal anti-Semitism was one of his priorities for his leadership. He will deliver a statement on the report just after 11.
In a statement released this morning, Corbyn said: “Antisemitism is absolutely abhorrent, wrong and responsible for some of humanity’s greatest crimes. As Leader of the Labour Party I was always determined to eliminate all forms of racism and to root out the cancer of anti-Semitism.”
“I have campaigned in support of Jewish people and communities my entire life and I will continue to do so,” he added.
“One anti-Semite is one too many, but the scale of the problem was dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as much of the media.
“That combination hurt Jewish people and must never be repeated”.
Labour MP Margaret Hodge commented: “This is a truly appalling day for the Labour Party. Under Corbyn’s leadership, Labour committed unlawful acts of harassment and political interference. This should never have been allowed to happen and this report must act as a watershed moment.”