Harriet Harman backs Corbyn suspension from Labour Party after reaction to anti-Semitism report

Katherine Johnston (29 October, 2020)

Corbyn said he would 'strongly contest' the 'political intervention'

11542Jeremy Corbyn, pictured in 2016 (photo by Garry Knight)

Harriet Harman has backed the decision to suspend Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour party over anti-Semitism comments.

Today Corbyn said claims of anti-Semitism detailed in a new report from the equalities and human rights watchdog were ‘overstated’. After subsequently being suspended from the party, he went on to describe the backlash as ‘political intervention’.

The report, from the Equality and Human Rights Commission, highlights ‘serious failings’ in Labour’s approach during Corbyn’s tenure, and said its complaints process was ‘inadequate’.

Harman, who has twice been Labour’s interim leader, did not join Corbyn on the campaign trial during last year’s general election.  In 2016, after a motion of no confidence in Corbyn as leader, she warned that that if he continued leading the party he would “be responsible for damage to the party on the gravest scale”.

Corbyn’s statement had been issued shortly before Keir Starmer gave a press conference describing the report’s publication as a ‘day of shame’ for the party and vowing to fully implement all its recommendations.

Soon after, a party spokesperson issued the following statement: “In light of his comments made today and his failure to retract them subsequently, the Labour party has suspended Jeremy Corbyn pending investigation. He has also had the whip removed from the parliamentary Labour party.”

Corbyn said he would ‘strongly contest’ the ‘political intervention’.

“I’ve made absolutely clear that those who deny there has been an antisemitism problem in the Labour Party are wrong,” he added

“It’s also undeniable that a false impression has been created of the number of members accused of antisemitism, as polling shows: that is what has been overstated, not the seriousness of the problem.
“I will continue to support a zero tolerance policy towards all forms of racism.
“And I urge all members to stay calm and focused – while this problem is resolved amicably, as I believe it will be – to defeat this awful government, which is further impoverishing the poorest in our society.”

The report, published today (October 29) concludes that there was culture in the party which “at best, did not do enough to prevent antisemitism and, at worst, could be seen to accept it”.

Investigators found

  • evidence of political interference in the complaints process, with 23 cases of ‘inappropriate’ involvement by the Leader of the Opposition’s Office and others in 70 files
  • an unmonitored complaints inbox with ‘no action taken’ in the case of the majority of its emails
  • missing information and records
  • As well as two high profile cases of ‘unlawful harassment’ by former London Mayor Ken Livingstone and Pam Bromley, a Rossendale councillor, eighteen ‘borderline’ cases were also identified

Caroline Waters, the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s interim chair, said: “”Our investigation has highlighted multiple areas where its approach and leadership to tackling antisemitism was insufficient.

“This is inexcusable and appeared to be a result of a lack of willingness to tackle antisemitism rather than an inability to do so.”


The statement that got Corbyn kicked out

“Antisemitism is absolutely abhorrent, wrong and responsible for some of humanity’s greatest crimes.
“As leader of the Labour Party I was always determined to eliminate all forms of racism and root out the cancer of antisemitism. I have campaigned in support of Jewish people and communities my entire life and I will continue to do so.
“The EHRC’s report shows that when I became Labour leader in 2015, the Party’s processes for handling complaints were not fit for purpose.
“Reform was then stalled by an obstructive party bureaucracy. But from 2018, Jennie Formby and a new NEC that supported my leadership made substantial improvements, making it much easier and swifter to remove antisemites. My team acted to speed up, not hinder the process.
“Anyone claiming there is no antisemitism in the Labour Party is wrong. Of course there is, as there is throughout society, and sometimes it is voiced by people who think of themselves as on the left.
“Jewish members of our party and the wider community were right to expect us to deal with it, and I regret that it took longer to deliver that change than it should.
“One antisemite is one too many, but the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media. That combination hurt Jewish people and must never be repeated.
“My sincere hope is that relations with Jewish communities can be rebuilt and those fears overcome. While I do not accept all of its findings, I trust its recommendations will be swiftly implemented to help move on from this period.”

diana says:

It was anti Zionism . Its a shame people do not know the difference as thousands of Palestinians suffer at their hands

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