Jewish Labour Movement pauses engagement with party

Sienna Rodgers
© Ian Vogler
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The suspension of the Labour whip from Jeremy Corbyn has had a timescale of three months applied to it, though I’m told this is “reviewable” and could be shorter or longer depending on what happens next. This is pending an investigation under Parliamentary Labour Party rules, about which there is little detail so far. It is understood that Corbyn’s lawyers are challenging the latest developments, making some of the same arguments as those put forward by Corbyn-supporting members of Labour’s national executive committee who have written a joint letter to general secretary David Evans. The full details can be found here.

The effect of the NEC’s disciplinary process being concluded is that both Corbyn allies on the ruling body have become more vocal and local parties more willing to consider motions that may be considered “incompetent business” by the party. Dulwich and West Norwood Labour last night passed, by 87 votes to 34, a motion of no confidence in the general secretary calling “for the NEC to take immediate steps to remove him from office”. A number of other local parties have passed motions calling for the whip to be restored to Corbyn, including at least one – Rushcliffe – that has clearly expressed support for Corbyn’s response to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission report.

The Jewish Labour Movement has sent an email to its members this morning offering “practical guidance in line with our duty of care” in response to such motions. The affiliate organisation has also touched on some of the points raised by LabourList reporting around the dilemma that the party now faces: does it pause the processing of all complaints or continue trying to clear the backlog as Starmer’s spokesperson suggested this week?

JLM has announced that it expects Labour to suspend all NEC antisemitism disputes panels. This does seem to be the most logical route, but it is complicated by the uncertain path to implementing a new independent process without party conference as explained here. JLM has also revealed that it was in “formal dialogue” with the party until yesterday but this is “now under review”. It is a worrying consequence of Labour’s poor handling of the Corbyn suspension, particularly as the EHRC recommended engagement with the Jewish community as an action in itself.

Away from Labour news, the government is making a mockery of Anti-Bullying Week 2020. The Cabinet Office inquiry into allegations of bullying by Priti Patel did find evidence that she broke the ministerial code, it has been reported, yet Boris Johnson is not expected to sack the Home Secretary and Tory MPs have been happy to defend her. Labour has said the matter has “all the hallmarks of a prime ministerial cover-up”.

The Chancellor, meanwhile, is preparing to impose a public sector pay freeze, as recommended by right-wing think the Centre for Policy Studies. NHS workers are expected to be exempt, but as we all know they are not the only ones who have risked their lives on the frontline during the crisis. A rally for fair pay is being held on Monday, to which you can sign up here.

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