Fears Labour could ‘be left bankrupt’ over equalities watchdog anti-semitism probe
Fears Labour could be left bankrupt from the official investigation into anti-semitism have been voiced by members of the party’s top ruling body.
National Executive Committee (NEC) members have raised concerns a damning result from the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) probe into the party’s handling of anti-Jewish hatred could lead to a series of legal battles and payouts to victims.
According to the Independent, party bosses were asked who would be financially responsible in that scenario amid fears that like trustees of a charity, committee members of the party, could be personally liable to pay up if Labour’s finances collapse.
They reported that the discussion was quickly “shut down” by party chiefs and that the uncertainty continues according to sources.
On the EHRC inquiry, an NEC member said “If it’s really bad then it opens up all sorts of possibilities and it has been raised that the whole thing could basically bankrupt the party.
“People are really worried. The party has been asked to let us know what indemnity it has because there are concerns that NEC members are going to ultimately be responsible for this.
“If we were a charity, the Charity Commission would have been all over us months ago. The EHRC is effectively playing the same role as the Charity Commission and we are effectively the trustees. That means we are legally responsible.”
Another member asked if they were confident the party could cope with potential financial implications, said: “No. There is no basis for that confidence.”
Others also aired concern Jewish members could be vulnerable to “another round of victim-blaming” if the party struggled to cope following the watchdog’s outcome.
The EHRC announced it was launching a formal investigation into the party in May and is expected to publish a report and recommendations next year.
It comes as figures show Labour made a loss of £655,000 last year compared to profiting £1.45million the year before, with rising staff costs, fall in membership and a loss made from its Labour Live event cited as reasons.
Labour declined to comment to the paper but sources added the party did not believe that individual NEC members could be held personally responsible.