EHRC launches investigation into Labour antisemitism claims

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has announced today that it is launching an investigation into “whether The Labour Party has unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised people because they are Jewish”.

The body, set up under a Labour government in 2007, says the party has committed to co-operating fully with the probe, which will seek to determine:

  • whether unlawful acts have been committed by the party and/or its employees and/or its agents
  • whether the party has responded to complaints of unlawful acts in a lawful, efficient and effective manner

The investigation is set to look specifically into Labour’s rulebook and the steps taken by the party following the Royall Report, the home affairs select committee report on antisemitism and the Chakrabarti Report.

In March, the watchdog started a preliminary probe as an EHRC spokesperson confirmed that they believed “Labour may have unlawfully discriminated against people because of their ethnicity and religious beliefs”.

The EHRC had received complaint dossiers from both the Jewish Labour Movement, the party’s only affiliated Jewish group, and the Campaign Against Antisemitism.

Below is the statement released by Labour in response to the news.

“Labour is fully committed to the support, defence and celebration of the Jewish community and is implacably opposed to antisemitism in any form.

“We reject any suggestion that the Party does not handle antisemitism complaints fairly and robustly, or that the Party has acted unlawfully, and we will continue to cooperate fully with the EHRC.

“We support the efforts of the EHRC to draw attention to the obligations all political parties have under the Equality Act. But its ability to do so has been undermined by a 70% budget cut since 2010. Labour is the party of equality and in government we will strengthen the powers and functions of the commission.

“There has been a deeply worrying rise in antisemitism in the UK and across Europe. We are taking action to root it out of our party by strengthening our rules and procedures. But the issue can only be properly dealt with by all political parties working together to protect the interests of the Jewish community and to combat racism in politics, the media and in society more broadly. That includes the need for the Conservatives and other parties taking action to deal with racism in their own ranks.”

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