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
— Harriet Harman (@HarrietHarman) October 29, 2020
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”.
- 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