The Labour Party has confirmed in a newly released statement tonight that the Equality and Human Rights Commission has sent to the party its draft report into allegations of institutional antisemitism.
According to the statement, the party will not be commenting on the contents of the draft report until the EHRC drafting process is completed. It is first sent to Labour for review for at least 28 days.
Labour MPs and party staffers have also been asked by the party’s new general secretary David Evans not to comment on the arrival of the draft EHRC report or on the investigation, including on social media.
During this period, the EHRC’s findings are supposed to be kept confidential. But as the Labour Party is prone to leaks, more information may emerge before the review period has ended.
Labour is entitled to make written representations to the Commission about the draft over the coming weeks, and these will be considered by the EHRC before the report is finalised.
If the EHRC concludes that an unlawful act has been committed but the party undertakes not to commit that act again and takes preventative action, it is possible that the report does not have to be published.
However, the Jewish Labour Movement has asked the party to allow publication for transparency, and hopes that a Section 23 of the Equality Act agreement for non-publication will not entered into if offered.
In an email to party staff this evening, general secretary David Evans referred to the publication of the final report, which suggests that no such agreement will be taking place.
The EHRC has also stated on its website: “Once our investigation has finished we will publish a report of our findings, which may include recommendations.”
Commenting on the statement tonight, JLM said there has been an “atmosphere of denial” in Labour around anti-Jewish racism, adding: “As a third party to the investigation, we have not had sight of the draft report.
“We hope that when it is published, it will provide the kind of impartial and independent scrutiny required to force the party to comply with its duties under the Equality Act and toward our members.”
Gideon Falter of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, the charity that made the original referral to the EHRC in 2018, criticised new leader Keir Starmer in his comment tonight.
“Sir Keir… has still failed to set out a timeline for fixing Labour’s broken disciplinary process or, with one exception in relation to Rebecca Long-Bailey, take action over incidents in the party,” he said.
The CAA’s Falter concluded: “The EHRC has considered a great deal of evidence from us and we will have more to say when the report is published in due course.”
Statement from the Labour Party:
“The Equality and Human Rights Commission has provided the Labour Party with a draft of its report into allegations of antisemitism.
“The draft report has been shared with the Labour Party as part of a process afforded to us prior to the report’s publication. It is sent in confidence by the EHRC, so until that process is completed, it would be inappropriate to comment on any of the contents of the draft report – and we will not do so.
“Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner are committed to tackling antisemitism within the Labour Party. Antisemitism has been a stain on the Labour Party in recent years. It has caused unacceptable and unimaginable levels of grief and distress for many in the Jewish community, as well as members of staff.
“Tackling antisemitism within the Labour Party is a priority and we are determined to take the further action necessary to begin restoring trust with the Jewish community.
“We are committed to cooperating fully with the Commission’s investigation and implementing its recommendations when the final report is published. We will be making no further comment.”