Jewish leaders to be invited in to Labour HQ to provide anti-semitism training to staff, Keir Starmer reveals
Keir Starmer was elected Labour leader on Saturday.
3 min read
Senior members of the Jewish community will be invited in to Labour's HQ to provide staff with training on tackling anti-semitism, Keir Starmer has revealed.
The new Labour leader said the party had a "cultural problem" with anti-Jewish racism which needed to be solved.
Writing in the Jewish Chronicle, Sir Keir also vowed to "throw open the books" so that the Equality and Human Rights Commission faces no obstructions in its investigation into Labour anti-semitism.
And he vowed to introduce a fully independent process for dealing with complaints against Labour leader, amid accusations that the current system is open to abuse.
He said: "We must acknowledge we have a problem and be open in our response.
"We must shine a light on where we have failed and work with the Commission to implement the recommendations it puts forward later this year."
Sir Keir's comments follow claims that the previous leadership team had tried to frustrate the ECHR probe.
The new leader added: "We cannot wait until the Commission completes its inquiry before we get a grip of this situation. People do not believe the processes we have in place at the moment are adequate.
"I will therefore begin work immediately to deliver on my campaign pledge to establish an independent complaints process.
"I will also be requesting that a report on all outstanding cases of anti-semitism within the party is on my desk by the end of this week and that there is a timetable for their resolution. Clear cases of antisemitism must be dealt with robustly and swiftly.
"And once the coronavirus pandemic is over and members of staff can return to work, I will be closing the Labour Party’s offices for a day and inviting representatives of the Jewish community to come in and facilitate a day’s training on antisemitism.
"We have to be honest that this a cultural problem and only by listening and learning can we change that."
Sir Keir and his deputy, Angela Rayner, held talks with Jewish leaders in a video call on Tuesday morning at which he pledged to work with them to stamp out anti-semitism in the Labour Party.
In a statement afterwards, the Jewish community groups said: "Keir Starmer has already achieved in four days more than his predecessor in four years in addressing antisemitism within the Labour Party.
“As we discussed with Keir and Angela, we want to have a normal relationship with Labour whereby we can discuss the full range of issues affecting our community, from religious freedom to Israel, from Jewish schools to poverty, from refugees to the environment - and not just anti-semitism."
"This has certainly been a good start. If the new Labour leadership continues in this way, we can work together to make the changes that will make Labour a proudly anti-racist party once again."
In his first public comments after being elected Labour leader on Saturday, Sir Keir vowed to "tear out the poison" of anti-Jewish hatred from the party.
He said: "Anti-semitism has been a stain on our party. I have seen the grief that it's brought to so many Jewish communities.
"On behalf of the Labour Party, I am sorry. And I will tear out this poison by its roots and judge success by the return of Jewish members and those who felt that they could no longer support us."
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe