Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner are set to commission an “urgent independent investigation” into an antisemitism report conducted by Labour that leaked over the weekend.
In response to the internal report on the party’s handling of antisemitism complaints, which was leaked to journalists before being distributed online, the new leadership team released a joint statement saying:
“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.
“In the meantime, we ask everyone concerned to refrain from drawing conclusions before the investigation is complete and we will be asking the general secretary to put measures in place to protect the welfare of party members and party staff who are concerned or affected by this report.”
It is understood that the appointment of an independent investigator will be announced in due course.
The report in question, dated March 2020, was reportedly written by party staff to improve Labour’s own understanding of its complaints system in light of the ongoing Equality and Human Rights Commission investigation.
It concluded that disciplinary cases were poorly handled by party staff members, but that there is no evidence antisemitism complaints were treated differently. It also says the process has improved under general secretary Jennie Formby.
Concerns have been raised since the leaking of the unredacted report that the names and details of complainants as well as subjects of complaints were included and are now in the public domain.
Labour mayor Andy Burnham, previously a leadership candidate, tweeted about the report on Sunday to say: “Always felt like the party machine opposed my pro-public NHS & social care policies between 2010 & 2015.”
Commenting on the report, general secretary of party-affiliated CWU union Dave Ward asserted that the “strongest action is now required, including membership suspensions”.
The affiliated FBU’s Matt Wrack similarly tweeted: “The details revealed in this report are deeply, deeply alarming. We cannot and will not let it be buried.”
Corbynite organisation Momentum earlier today launched an open letter demanding “a full inquiry into the report, including into the possible misuse of funds”.
Lara McNeill, a member of Labour’s national executive committee (NEC), has argued that the ruling body “should decide the remit of the investigation” and noted that NEC officers have not been contacted.
29 Labour MPs in the Socialist Campaign Group have released a statement calling for the internal report to be published by the party, and for the NEC to establish the process for a new investigation.
This group of Labour left MPs includes four members of the full opposition frontbench appointed by Starmer – Dan Carden, Imran Hussain, Rachael Maskell and Lloyd Russell-Moyle.