Forde Report Accuses "Both Factions" In Labour Of Treating Anti-Semitism "As A Factional Weapon"
Labour Party receives Forde Report (Alamy)
Exclusive: The Forde Report has revealed that the independent inquiry into a leaked Labour report received “shocking” evidence about Labour and found that “both factions” treated anti-Semitism in the party “as a factional weapon”.
The report, seen in full by PoliticsHome, states there was “little evidence of mutual respect and a great deal of evidence of factionalism, so deep-rooted that the party has found itself dysfunctional”.
It also declares that WhatsApp messages sent by senior Corbynsceptic Labour Party staff working in HQ – revealed in the leaked document that prompted the Forde Inquiry to be set up – expressed “deplorably factional and insensitive, and at times discriminatory, attitudes”.
It continues: “However, we do also accept that the messages’ authors were not given a right of reply before their messages were included in the leaked report; that was a clear breach of natural justice.”
The 137-page report criticises “a culture of intellectual smugness which exists at the extremes of the political spectrum the party represents” and concludes that many in Labour “have lost sight of the humanity of those they see as being in an opposing faction”.
On the relations between Jeremy Corbyn’s office and Labour HQ when it was largely staffed by Corbynsceptics, the report says: “The whole situation rapidly deteriorated as several on the right did seize on the issue as a way to attack [Jeremy] Corbyn and several on the left adopted a position of denialism and conspiracy theories.”
The Forde Report was originally supposed to be delivered in July 2020 but has suffered numerous delays. Martin Forde QC, chair of the inquiry, was tasked with looking into the leaking and the content of an internal report on Labour’s handling of anti-Semitism complaints.
Written by party staff amid the Equality and Human Rights Commission probe into Labour anti-Semitism, the unredacted so-called “Labour Leaks” report was leaked online in April 2020. It contained personal data and allegations concerning former party staff members, which led to legal complications.
The “Labour Leaks” report alleged that the party’s election efforts in 2017 were undermined by factionalism or deliberately sabotaged by Corbynsceptics. After examining this claim, the Forde Report states: “It seems to us that the approach of both sides to resource allocation was coloured by factional concerns.”
The original document by party staff included details of an operation run in Ergon House during the 2017 general election campaign, which Corbynites said they did not know about.
The Forde Report concludes: "We consider it to be highly unlikely that the diversion of funds and personnel into the Ergon House operation lost the Party the general election. Nevertheless, the Ergon House operation was wrong."
Reacting to its release, Momentum co-chair Hilary Schan said: "The Forde Report is a damning indictment of the Labour right’s attempts to destroy from within the Corbyn leadership, and with it the hopes of a radical Labour government for the many."
The Corbynite organisation has called for the implementation of Labour's Black, Asian and minority ethnic structures to be sped up, and for Keir Starmer to "stop disregarding Labour's rules to benefit his own factional agenda".
A Jewish Labour Movement spokesperson said: "With the publication of the Forde Report, the experiences of Jewish Labour members are yet again vindicated. It confirms that the Labour Party had a serious problem with antisemitism and its denial and downplaying, which it demonstrably failed to address."
Members of Labour's ruling National Executive Committee will discuss the report this afternoon and they are expected to agree that it should be published, in line with the recommendation of general secretary David Evans.
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe