Fresh blow for Labour as top lawyer in charge of anti-semitism probes quits role
Labour’s attempts to tackle its anti-semitism crisis have been dealt a fresh blow after the lawyer in charge of dealing with the issue quit his job.
Gordon Nardell QC was only appointed the party’s executive director of legal affairs a year ago.
One of his key tasks was to advise Labour on its approach to dealing with anti-semitism cases.
Mr Nardell was also heading up an inquiry into sexual harassment within the party.
His decision to leave his role comes ahead of a Panorama documentary which is expected to be highly critical of the way Labour has handled the anti-semitism issue.
The party is also the subject of a probe by the Equality and Human Rights Commission amid allegations of its treatment of Jewish people.
Mr Nardell’s departure was confirmed by law firm Twenty Essex on Friday evening after days of speculation.
In a statement, they said: “Twenty Essex are delighted to welcome Gordon Nardell QC back to full-time practice from August 2019 following his term as Executive Director of Legal Affairs to the Labour Party, the Party’s inaugural General Counsel role.”
A Labour source said: “Gordon took the decision to return to his practice as a barrister.”
Mr Nardell’s appointment last year sparked a row following reports that he was Facebook friends with or had met activists caught up in the anti-semitism scandal.
A spokesperson for the Jewish Labour Movement said: “Gordon Nardell’s tenure as General Consel will be remarkable only for the absolute chaos and political manipulation within the Governance and Legal Unit that took place on his watch.
“The party leadership’s total failure to address anti-Jewish racism has led to the EHRC launching a statutory investigation into institutional racism. It is unsurprising that he has now resigned.
“The leadership must be held accountable for the culture of harassment, intimidation and causal racism that has gripped the party and follow Nardell’s example."