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Tue, 2 June 2020

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Labour breaks vow to clear majority of anti-Semitism cases by end of July

Labour breaks vow to clear majority of anti-Semitism cases by end of July
2 min read

Labour will not clear the majority of outstanding anti-Semitism complaints against party members by the end of July, despite pledging to do so.


Party bosses made the vow in April following a meeting between Jeremy Corbyn and senior officials from the Jewish Leadership Council and the Board of Deputies of British Jews.

That came after a mass demonstration in Parliament Square, arranged by the JLC and BoD, over Labour's failure to tackle anti-Jewish abuse in its ranks.

Mr Corbyn said Labour would speed up its attempts to clear the backlog of around 70 anti-Semitism cases which had not been dealt with - and officials set a deadline for the end of this month.

However, it is understood that 50 complaints against Labour members remain outstanding.

Labour general secretary Jennie Formby pledged to make tackling anti-Semitism her top priority when she was appointed to the role earlier this year. She is currently on holiday.

A Labour spokesman said: “The Labour party’s national executive committee recently approved wide-ranging reforms to strengthen and speed up procedures for dealing with complaints of anti-Semitism.

"Those changes are being implemented by the party as quickly as possible. Once in place these will make our processes more robust, efficient and fair, ensuring cases are dealt with quickly."

Labour has been hit by a fresh row over the NEC's decision not to fully adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance's definition of anti-Semitism, along with its list of examples.

That prompted Margaret Hodge, the MP for Barking, to call Mr Corbyn "an anti-Semitic racist" to his face in the Commons last week.

She is now facing disciplinary action by the party after Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald reported her.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell told Radio Four's Today programme that Mrs Hodge had "misunderstood" Labour's new anti-Semitism code of conduct.

But speaking to Nick Robinson's Political Thinking podcast, Shadow Defence Secretary Nia Griffith suggested the disciplinary action should be dropped completely.

She said: "The idea that Jeremy would want to set up an atmosphere in the party where people couldn’t go and say things to him is completely absurd. It’s just not his way of dealing things.

"I think we’d all prefer to have somebody speak to your face rather than behind your back. It’s important that we have those discussions and if it means we need to do a lot more work to get things right let’s do it."

The frontbencher added: "I just can’t see a situation where we discipline people for speaking their minds to each other, whether its members of the Shadow Cabinet or the leader of the opposition himself."

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