Labour failing to ‘get to grips’ with anti-semitism, leaked emails show
Labour have been accused of failing to "get to grips" with anti-semitism after a tranche of leaked emails showed hundreds of complaints remained unresolved.
A raft of cases involving Labour members have yet to be investigated despite the party’s commitment to stamp out the problem, according to information obtained by The Sunday Times.
Members who have allegedly posted comments such as “Heil Hitler” and “Jews are the problem”, have remained within the party, despite complaints about their behaviour being made over a year ago.
In another case, a council candidate who accused Jewish MPs of being “Zionist infiltrators” was judged to have met the threshold for suspension by a Labour official but was instead let off because he “is a candidate”.
But Labour hit back against the claims, saying “selective leaks” from internal emails “misrepresent the overall contents.”
The paper reported that a hard drive of internal documents showed that 454 out of a total of 863 complaints being investigated by the party have yet to be resolved, with 249 investigations are still to begin.
Of the 409 cases which have been concluded, 145 members received a formal warning which does not exclude them from standing for election for the party, while 191 members faced no further action.
Fewer than 30 members have been expelled for their comments.
Labour deputy leader Tom Watson said: “This makes for deeply shocking and depressing reading. Labour members and the Jewish community will not understand how, many years on from the first concerns about anti-semitism being raised, we have not got to grips with it.”
According to the paper, the emails also show that Jeremy Corbyn’s office have been involved in approving, delaying or blocking at least 101 complaints.
Labour have insisted there is a “firewall” between the complaints process and the leadership process, and that the practice of allowing Labour officials to comment on cases ended weeks after new general secretary Jennie Formby took over.
But according to the leaked documents, Thomas Gardiner, who leads Labour’s governance and legal unit became involved in a case last month in which a member was accused of describing two Jewish MPs as “shit-stirring c** buckets” in the pay of Israel.
The hard drive also contains an email written by a senior Labour official in April last year asking for Mr Corbyn’s political secretary Amy Jackson to “have an overview of all complaints that involve elected politicians or candidates”.
Jewish Labour MP Margaret Hodge, said: “The scale of the abuse, the depth of the hatred and the total lack of action by the Labour party is astonishing. Jeremy gave me assurances that he does not intervene. This investigation proves that either he lying to me or his office are lying to him.”
But a Labour spokesperson refuted the figures, saying they were “not accurate”.
They added: “Former staffers asked the Leader’s Office for their help with clearing the backlog of cases. This lasted for a few weeks while there was no general secretary, and was ended by Jennie Formby.
“These emails show Thomas Gardiner arguing for an anti-Semitism complaint to be recoded as anti-semitism, in line with the Macpherson principle, and to ensure the case dealt with through the fast-tracked anti-semitism procedures.”
“The Labour party takes complaints of anti-semitism extremely seriously and we are committed to rooting it out. All complaints are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures. We can’t comment on individual cases.”
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe