John McDonnell has called for the leaked Labour antisemitism report to be given to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, which is currently investigating the party.
In an interview with Sky News, the former Shadow Chancellor stressed that the EHRC “should have everything, warts and all”, saying: “We’ve got to rid ourselves of this culture that prevented us a Labour government.”
He added that if full disclosure leads to the equalities watchdog finding the Labour Party to be institutionally antisemitic, “so be it”.
Commenting on the alleged behaviour among Labour staffers outlined in the leaked dossier, McDonnell said it had “by the looks of it, undermined the party’s ability to deal with antisemitism effectively”.
He added that if the party’s investigation into the internal report finds the claims made in the document to be accurate, the staff members involved should be expelled from the party.
"The truth has got to come out… if that means the EHRC comes to a finding that the Labour party is institutionally antisemitic, well, so be it”
Extraordinary statement from @johnmcdonnellMP in an exclusive interview on the leaked Labour report.
Full article coming soon pic.twitter.com/49nK3wRybg
— Tom Rayner (@RaynerSkyNews) April 16, 2020
Asked about the suggestion from Jewish Labour Movement secretary Peter Mason that releasing the report into the public domain had treated the Jewish community like “pawns in a game of someone else’s design”, McDonnell said: “No, not at all. Quite the reverse… This isn’t about using people or pawns or individuals or groups or whatever, this is the search for the truth.
“Because I’ve had enough, I had years of asking what was happening on antisemitism. We were being told, according to this report, inaccurate information consistently. If it’s true, that’s appalling. We should never allow this to happen again, we’ve got to end this culture.”
The former Shadow Chancellor stated that members are “pretty shocked and actually pretty angry” and need to be “reassured that in addition to the investigation, action is taken now as well on the basis that these are serious charges”.
He added: “People should be treated fairly overall. And, of course, the investigation will look into these matters, but just as other members, when serious charges have been made against them, have been suspended, I think this should happen. And if the investigation finds that this report is accurate, these members should be expelled.”
McDonnell claimed that “Keir’s doing the right thing” and said that the new Labour leader has his “100% support in terms of the investigation – however he also stated: “Members expect him to go a bit further.”
Starmer has not said whether he is prepared to expel people from the party who were apparently undermining his predecessor, and said recently: “I’ll obviously look at the result when we get it. But I am not going to preempt that.”
The internal report into the way in which the party has handled antisemitism complaints was leaked last week, and alleged that the behaviour of party staff had undermined party effectiveness in dealing with them.
Shortly after the leak, the new Labour leader commissioned an “urgent independent investigation” into the background, the content and the way in which the document has been released into the public domain.
Unite Labour staff branch said that the focus of any investigation should be on the “alleged behaviour in the report and not an attack on whistleblowing”, while GMB’s branch has called for Jennie Formby to apologise to current staffers named in the document.