Labour’s national executive committee will hold a special meeting from 3pm this afternoon to discuss the party’s response to the Equality and Human Rights Commission report on its handling of antisemitism.
It was agreed at the last full meeting of Labour’s ruling body on November 24th that the NEC would arrange a special virtual gathering to take place today and that the equalities committee would also meet – as it did on Friday.
LabourList understands that the equalities committee last week was shown a set of slides about the action plan that Labour must present to the EHRC, and all NEC members are expected to be shown the same information today.
When the EHRC report that found Labour responsible for unlawful acts was published in late October, the party was told it had until December 10th to draft an action plan to implement the recommendations.
The changes mandated by the equality body include commissioning an independent process to handle and determine antisemitism complaints, and implementing clear rules against “any inappropriate interference” in the process.
LabourList sources have said the party intends to set up a new independent system not only for antisemitism complaints but for all cases related to racism, Islamophobia, bullying, sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination.
Jane Ramsey, who trained as a barrister and was a member of the committee on standards in public life until October, has been appointed to lead on this project. She joined the equalities call on Friday and will do so again this afternoon.
Labour was instructed by the EHRC to review and update its ‘Code of Conduct: Social Media Policy’, making it clear that the sharing or liking any antisemitic social media content by members could lead to disciplinary action.
As well as provide education and practical training for all individuals involved in the antisemitism complaints process within six months, the party was to boost transparency via the publication of complaints procedures.
LabourList understands that the initial draft action plan due to be handed in this week does not involve a very high level of detail. It is mostly designed to show that Labour understands what it must do next.
The party is telling the EHRC through the action plan that it has taken on board the need to change party culture, develop comprehensive internal guidance for all stages of the antisemitism complaints, and more.
The EHRC is expected to subsequently write back and tell the party that it has correctly understood the recommendations, or otherwise, and that Labour will then need to work up the plan into an implementation document.
One source described the process as “a lot more iterative” than they expected. Another source said the action plan at this stage is “high-level” and “not massively detailed”, intended to set out a “roadmap” for the leadership.
One NEC source told LabourList that Ramsey was “really impressive” at the meeting on Friday, offering both a clear understanding of the legal situation and an honest appraisal of the difficulties facing the party.
The NEC’s organisation committee, known as ‘Org Sub’, and the disputes panel will not meet until their scheduled dates in January, as normal. Both will elect new chairs at their first meetings since the NEC elections.