Shami Chakrabarti: No deal with Jeremy Corbyn over peerage

Posted On: 
4th September 2016

Shami Chakrabarti has insisted the peerage handed to her by Jeremy Corbyn was not "remotely" in return for clearing the Labour party of anti-Semitism.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and civil rights campaigner Shami Chakrabarti
Credit: 
PA Images

The civil liberties campaigner declared the Labour leader “not a corrupt man” - and she refused to rule out accepting a post in his Shadow Cabinet.

Ms Chakrabarti's report into anti-Semitism and other forms of racism in the party was branded a “whitewash” when it reported in June.

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But it was her elevation to the Lords, which emerged in David Cameron's controversial resignation honours list, that drew the fiercest criticism - with one MP saying it “stinks”.

Asked about the scandal today, Ms Chakrabarti mounted a staunch defence of the peerage, accusing critics of “slinging mud” to tarnish her reputation.

“Jeremy Corbyn is not a corrupt man and I am not a corrupt woman,” the former Liberty director told the BBC's Andrew Marr show.

“I stand by the report. There was nothing remotely transactional about it.”

She added: “I know what it is like to be offered transactional favours by prime ministers; not by beleaguered leaders of the Labour party.

“I wrote a report to try and civilise discourse in the Labour party. I have yet to completely succeed in that enterprise but I stand by it.”

And she insisted the pair did not discuss the possibility of a peerage ahead of the report, arguing: "I did my report into racism and anti-Semitism with no inducements, no offers, no threats, no interference."

 

Asked if she would be willing to make the most of her peerage by taking a role in Mr Corbyn's Shadow Cabinet, if it were offered, Ms Chakrabarti said:

“I think he has got a leadership election to win before anything like that.”

Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson last month described the timing of the appointment to the Lords as “a mistake”.

Fellow Labour MP Wes Streeting, meanwhile, said the elevation “stinks”.

But Shadow Health Secretary Diane Abbott fired back at her colleagues in defence of Mr Corbyn and Ms Chakrabarti.

She told Sky News: “Shami Chakrabarti is one of the most distinguished people in public life. She would have had a peerage under a number of Labour leaders.

"To say her appointment ‘stinks’, what message does that give to young women of Shami’s background about stepping into the public space?”