Major EHRC report on Labour anti-Semitism published tomorrow – what it means


The equalities watchdog will publish a long-awaited report into anti-Semitism in the Labour Party which marred Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission will outline the findings of its 18-month investigation into handling of complaints of anti-Jewish hate in the party on Thursday.

The probe was triggered by fears that anti-Semitism was rife among some of the hard left supporters of the former leader and claims he failed to tackle abuse of Jews while in charge.

The row over handling of anti-Semitism complaints dogged Mr Corbyn’s leadership and the EHRC’s findings will likely be a big moment for Labour.

The current Labour leader Keir Starmer will give his reaction to the report on Thursday morning.

Here’s what you need to know ahead of the report’s publication.

The row over allegations of antisemitism dogged Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership

What was the investigation about?

The EHRC launched the investigation last year after receiving a number of complaints about allegations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

The watchdog, which was set up by Labour, previously took action against the BNP over rules that only allowed white members.

It was contacted by several Jewish groups, including the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism and the Jewish Labour Movement, which made submissions to the inquiry.

These submissions are believed to have included evidence from party members, staffers and MPs.

The EHRC said it would examine whether Labour “unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised people because they are Jewish”.

It will look at whether Labour or its employees/agents broke equalities laws and whether it had responded appropriately to complaints of discrimination.

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The party’s disciplinary and complaints processes will come under scrutiny, as well as its response to several reports on anti-Semitism.

A draft version of the report was sent to Labour in July.

Meanwhile, a separate internal report, which suggested factionalism in the party had hampered the handling of anti-Semitism complaints, was leaked earlier this year.

The report – and its leaking to the media – was subject to a separate independent review.

What are the consequences?

If the EHRC finds Labour has broken the Equality Act, it can order the party to come up with an action plan to avoids any future breaches.

The commission may make recommendations to the party, even if finds Labour has not broken the law.

What do Jeremy Corbyn and his allies say?

The former Labour leader will respond to the findings on Thursday.

Mr Corbyn always insisted that anti-Semitism would not be tolerated in Labour but his critics accused him of not doing enough to stamp out the problem.

Relations with a number of prominent Jewish groups broke down during his tenure over a string of controversies, including a row over the party’s initial failure to adopt an internationally recognised definition of anti-Semitism in full.

His former chief of staff Karie Murphy mounted a defence of the party’s record earlier this week, where she said she was “proud” of efforts made to remove anti-Semites from Labour.

Jeremy Corbyn’s former chief of staff Karie Murphy said she was proud of the party’s record in stamping out anti-Semitism

“Under Jeremy Corbyn ’s leadership, antisemites were removed from the Labour party more quickly, transparently and effectively than ever before. As his former chief of staff, I’m proud of that record,” she wrote in the Guardian.

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Ms Murphy also restated a view held by some in the party that coverage of the problem was “primarily driven by political opposition to  Jeremy Corbyn ’s socialist, internationalist politics.”

What has Keir Starmer said?

The Labour leader is also expected to give his response to the report on Thursday morning.

He previously said Labour would cooperate fully with the probe and work to implement any recommendations the Commission makes.

Mr Starmer has made repairing trust with the Jewish community a key plank of his leadership, using his first speech as leader to apologise for the row.

He vowed to “tear this poison out by its roots” and to reach out to Jewish groups to heal the rift.

Labour leader Keir Starmer

What do Jewish groups say?

Labour Against Anti-Semitism spokeswoman Fiona Sharpe said the group hoped Labour would build on the findings from the EHRC.

“But whatever its verdict, the Jewish community will continue to carry the wounds of five years of institutional antisemitism within the Labour Party,” she said.

“Their pain will always be a scar on the reputation and conscience of the entire Labour movement.”

Campaign Against Anti-Semitism chief executive Gideon Falter said many British Jews had been fearful during Mr Corbyn’s leadership and accused the party of becoming “institutionally anti-Semitic”.

“The party must be forever changed after this episode so this can never happen again.

“Those responsible remain in the party and must be held to account if Sir Keir Starmer is to tear anti-Semitism ‘out by its roots’, as he has promised.”

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