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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Labour anti-semitism under formal investigation

The Independent reports that the UK’s equality watchdog has launched a formal investigation into whether Labour has “unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised people” from the Jewish community.

The paper says that the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) was moved to act after receiving a number of complaints about handling of allegations of antisemitism in Labour ranks, a row which has dogged the party for many months:

Labour said it would cooperate fully with the investigation and it rejected any suggestion that it did not handle complaints “fairly and robustly, or that the party has acted unlawfully”.

However, the news will come as a blow to Jeremy Corbyn, as the watchdog rarely takes action against political parties. The EHRC previously ordered the British National Party to rewrite its constitution in 2010 to scrap rules that only allowed white members.

In a statement, the watchdog said: “The EHRC is today launching a formal investigation to determine whether the Labour Party has unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised people because they are Jewish.

The paper adds that the EHRC will examine whether “unlawful acts” have been committed by Labour and whether it has responded to complaints in an efficient manner.

Senior party figures could be brought before the EHRC, which will have the power to demand access to correspondence, emails and other documents to determine how Labour handled complaints of discrimination. While the body has no powers to fine or prosecute, it can create a legally enforceable action plan for organisations and make recommendations.

A full statutory investigation into anti-Semitism is a major blow for Corbyn who has signally failed to get to grips with this problem within his party. However, I also agree with the Muslim Council of Britain who has urged the EHRC to open an investigation into alleged Islamophobia within the Conservative Party.
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