Labour under fresh pressure over anti-semitism as leaked dossier appears to show complaints backlog

Posted On: 
8th December 2019

Labour has come under fresh pressure over its handling of anti-semitism complaints after a leaked dossier appeared to show a backlog of unresolved incidents.

Jeremy Corbyn has insisted his party are dealing with complaints of antisemitism
Credit: 
PA

Leaked documents, seen by the Sunday Times, showed some cases remaining unresolved months or years after they were raised.

According to the paper, it took more than 10 months to expel one party member who called for the "complete extinction of all Jews" and said that "Jews represented a viral infection that need to be completely eliminated".

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It comes after Mr Corbyn apologised for incidents of anti-semitism in his party, but insisted they were being "dealt with".

Speaking to ITV's This Morning on Tuesday, the Labour leader said: "Can I just make it clear... our party and me do not accept anti-semitism in any form.

"Obviously I'm very sorry for everything that's happened but I want to make this clear, I am dealing with it. I have dealt with it.

"Other parties are also affected by anti-semitism. Candidates have been withdrawn by the Liberal Democrats and teh Conservatives and by us because we do not accept it in any form whatsoever."

But according to Sunday Times, a leaked memo from Anna Dyer, head of Labour's national constitutional committee, showed the party's own legal team have cast doubt on Mr Corbyn's plans to fast-track expulsions for the most serious cases, saying the scheme would "present dangers for the party and could be challenged in court".

Former Labour MP Dame Louise Ellman, who quit the party in October over its handling of the issue, told the paper: "This reduces to rubble my party’s claim that anti-semitism in the party is being dealt with.

“It is beyond belief that members can make statements of Holocaust denial and call for Jews to be completely exterminated yet remain in the party for months or years or receive a mere slap on the wrist.”

A party spokesperson said claims of a backlog were "categorically untrue" and insisted the new disciplinary processes developed by Mr Corbyn would result serious offenders being expelled within weeks rather than months.

They said: "This is proof of the robust action the party is taking to root out anti-semitism. No other party has introduced rapid expulsion processes."

"Mainstream anti-semitism"

It comes after a US human rights group, The Simon Wiesenthal Centre, placed Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party at the top of its list of worst global anti-semitic incidents in 2019.

According to the Mail on Sunday, the group, named after the famous Nazi hunter, said: "No one has done more to mainstream anti-semitism into the political and social life of a democracy than the Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Party."

Rabbi Marvin Hier, who leads the center, told the paper: "Britain was at the forefront of defeating Hitler and now, on the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the person who wants to sit in Winston Churchhill's chair at No10 is fostering antisemitism."

He added: "If Mr Corbyn wins he will make Britain a pariah on the world stage. It will be a disaster for democracy."

But a Labour spokesperson hit back at the remarks, saying: "This ranking is ridiculous and grossly offensive. Putting Jeremy Corbyn at the head of a list containing neo-Nazi synagogue shooters is a transparent political attack and has nothing to do with tackling anti-semitism."