The Equalities and Human Rights Commission report on Labour antisemitism has been sent to the party, it was confirmed last night. As outlined in an earlier piece on the EHRC drafting process, the inquiry’s conclusions are first sent to the Labour Party for review. Over these 28 days, the party can make written representations on the contents of the document, which is finalised by the EHRC and published at the end of this period. Labour MPs and staffers have been told by new general secretary David Evans not to comment on either the arrival of the draft or the investigation itself.
The worry is that this leak-prone party could see the draft being released early. But if all goes to plan, we should be reading the EHRC report in early August. Labour’s task is then to prepare an action plan, if the EHRC serves the party an ‘unlawful act notice’, and to start implementing the recommendations. The equalities watchdog has supervisory powers over such an action plan, and the Labour leader will also be looking for the approval of groups such as the Jewish Labour Movement and the Campaign Against Antisemitism. Both are prepared to criticise Keir Starmer, as JLM’s statement on Lloyd Russell-Moyle and the CAA’s recent comments on his leadership have shown.
The Labour leader has already laid the groundwork for this moment, by ensuring that he can reliably win votes on the ruling body and by installing a new general secretary. Speaking of which, it’s all change in the wider labour movement: UNISON’s general secretary Dave Prentis has announced that he will be retiring at the end of the year when his term ends. He was thanked by Starmer for “many years of outstanding leadership” and for representing frontline workers during this crisis, as well as by deputy leader Angela Rayner who started as a carer and came up through UNISON to become a Labour MP. Our round-up of MPs’ tributes to Prentis, described as a “giant of the labour movement”, can be found here. A huge thanks also from LabourList for UNISON’s crucial support over the years.
The biggest party-affiliated trade unions are going through a period of change. GMB is currently looking for a new general secretary, with an interim head in place at the moment, while three candidates have put themselves forward for the top job at Unite – Howard Beckett, Steve Turner and Sharon Graham. Beckett and Turner will be vying for the endorsement of United Left at a hustings on Saturday. At UNISON, left-winger Roger McKenzie is thought to be keen but there will be plenty of others. This is an exciting time for the wider labour movement: it has played a pivotal role in fighting for workers during this crisis, and any new general secretaries will be boosted by growing union membership. There is much cause for optimism. Sign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.