The charges against Labour in damning 130-page report
- Labour breached the Equality Act 2010 by committing ‘unlawful harassment’ in two of the complaints investigated. They included ‘using antisemitic tropes and suggesting that complaints of antisemitism were fake or smears’.
- One of the cases involved Ken Livingstone, who in 2016 defended MP Naz Shah over claims of anti-Semitism by claiming there was a smear campaign by ‘the Israel lobby’ to undermine and disrupt Mr Corbyn’s leadership. He later resigned from the Labour Party after being suspended.
- A further 18 cases were ‘borderline’, involving local councillors, local election candidates and Constituency Labour Party (CLP) officials.
- Analysis of 70 anti-Semitism complaint files found 23 incidences of ‘political interference’ by Mr Corbyn’s office and others. This included ‘clear examples of interference at various stages throughout the complaint handling process, including in decisions on whether to investigate and whether to suspend’ party members.
- The party’s complaints process was ‘inconsistent, poor, and lacking in transparency’.
- In cases where a complaint of anti-Semitism was upheld, it was ‘difficult to draw conclusions on whether the sanctions applied were fair and consistent’.
- Recommendations made by the watchdog include commissioning an independent process to handle anti-Semitism complaints and acknowledging the effect political interference has had and implementing clear rules to stop it happening again.
Labour exploded into brutal civil warfare over anti-Semitism today after former leader Jeremy Corbyn was suspended in the wake of an official report which tore into party racism under his leadership.
Hard-left figures in the party including union baron Len McCluskey, former shadow chancellor John McDonnel and Diane Abbot are lining up to support Mr Corbyn against moderate Labour led by Sir Kier Starmer.
Socialist former leader Corbyn – who has previously been caught on a Mail Online exclusive video saying British Jews ‘don’t get English irony’ – was stripped of the party whip hours after a damning report found Labour guilty of breaking equality laws.
Lord Mann, the UK’s anti-Semitism tsar, said it was ‘the moment of greatest shame in the history of the Labour Party’.
Party leader Sir Keir Starmer suspended him for issuing a statement dismissing many of the EHRC’s conclusions and claiming the extent of anti-Semitism during his tenure had been ‘overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media’.
It was this comment, made moments before Starmer made a speech accepting the conclusions, which prompted Labour general secretary David Evans to suspend him.
The suspension was immediately hailed by moderates, but it plunged the party into civil war, with Unite union boss Len McCluskey saying the decision was a ‘grave injustice’ which would cause ‘chaos’ and doom Labour to electoral defeat.
That in-fighting could last for months as the former leader’s fate is decided. Mr Corbyn vowed to fight the suspension, while there are suggestions his supporters on the front bench are considering resigning and his backers in the party are tearing up their membership cards.
Last night the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism demanded that its complaints about Mr Corbyn’s conduct – such as supporting an anti-Semitic mural – be reinvestigated. It also submitted complaints against 15 other MPs, including Diane Abbott, Richard Burgon, Rebecca Long-Bailey and deputy leader Angela Rayner.
A snap YouGov poll found that 58 per cent of people believe Mr Corbyn’s suspension was the right decision, against 13 per cent who said it was wrong.
Mr McCluskey, leader of Unite, led calls for Sir Keir reverse the decision, calling it a ‘gross injustice’ as Mr Corbyn’s closest allies rallied around him.
Former shadow chancellor John McDonnell labelled Mr Corbyn’s suspension from the party ‘profoundly wrong’, while former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott retweeted a statement opposing his suspension.
But amid fury from Mr Corbyn’s supporters and allies, Mr McClusky urged members to stay in the party rather than leave in protest, and Mr McDonnell and Miss Abbott called for calm and for ‘party unity’.
That came amid speculation that Corbyn supporters on the front bench were considering resigning, and that his supporters in the party were tearing up their membership cards.
Mr McCluskey said: ‘This was a day for our party to move forward as one to defeat the evil of anti-Semitism. However, the decision to suspend Jeremy Corbyn has threatened that opportunity.
Mr Corbyn’s supporters broke out into barely-suppressed revolt after the hard-left icon, 71, was stripped of the whip for comments downplaying the Equality and Human Right’s Commission’s long-awaited probe.
The landmark 130-page report found ‘significant failings in the way the Labour Party has handled anti-Semitism complaints over the last four years’ with ‘specific examples of harassment, discrimination and political interference’.
Among the charges levelled at Labour were the fact that out of 70 anti-Semitism complains analysed, 23 showed signs of ‘political interference’ by Mr Corbyn’s office and others.
They also blasted ‘a lack of leadership within the Labour Party on these issues’, which it said was ‘hard to reconcile with its stated commitment to a zero-tolerance approach to anti-Semitism’.
But Mr Corbyn was suspended this afternoon after releasing a statement saying 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’.
The decision prompted the Left and moderate wings of the party to turn on each other, deepening a split that was already chasm-deep after years of factional infighting.
Mr Corbyn urged his Labour supporters to ‘stay in the party’ to fight for left-wing principles following the decision to suspend him, as many displayed their cut-up membership cards on social media.
In a broadcast interview in Islington following the removal of the whip, Mr Corbyn called for calm and for members to ‘make the case’ for left-wing values internally.
But as Corbynites vented their ire at his replacement, Sir Keir Starmer, the current Labour leader insisted the decision had been correct.
Sir Keir Starmer said he was ‘disappointed’ in Jeremy Corbyn’s statement and added: ‘I want to unite the Labour Party and bring our factions together as a united party.
‘But I made a very clear commitment to root out anti-Semitism and I’m going to follow through on that commitment. We cannot say ”zero tolerance” and then turn a blind eye.’
Former shadow chancellor John McDonnell backed his former boss Mr Corbyn, describing the suspension as ‘profoundly wrong’ on Twitter.
‘On the day we should all be moving forward & taking all steps to fight anti-Semitism, the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn is profoundly wrong,’ he tweeted.
‘In interests of party unity let’s find a way of undoing & resolving this. I urge all party members to stay calm as that is the best way to support Jeremy and each other. Let’s all call upon the leadership to lift this suspension.’
And Unite union kingpin Len McCluskey, a close confident of Mr Corbyn, added it was ‘an act of grave injustice which, if not reversed, will create chaos within the party and in doing so compromise Labour’s chances of a general election victory’.
In other developments:
- Mr Corbyn said he did not accept all the report’s findings, but added: ‘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.’
- Sir Keir said that the report was ‘hard to read’, adding: ‘It is a day of shame for the Labour Party. We have failed Jewish people.’
- Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge said Jeremy Corbyn had ‘shamed’ the party by sitting ‘at the centre of a party that enabled anti-Semitism.’
- But the Jewish MP dismissed calls for his expulsion saying: ‘He is yesterday’s man. He is absolutely irrelevant.’
- Former Labour MP Luciana Berger said the findings were ‘damning’ and ‘I don’t think they could have been any worse than what we’ve heard and seen today’.
- The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism said it had filed complaints to Labour about 16 MPs. They are Mr Corbyn plus Diane Abbott, Tahir Ali, Mike Amesbury, Apsana Begum, Richard Burgon, Barry Gardiner, Kate Hollern, Afzal Khan, Rebecca-Long Bailey, Angela Rayner, Steve Reed, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, Barry Sheerman and Zarah Sultana.
Mr Corbyn pictured leaving his house in North London this morning, wearing a face mask incorrectly
Sir Keir offered a grovelling apology to British Jews today and warned that those who still felt that accusations were ‘exaggerated, or a factional attack’ should be ‘nowhere near the Labour Party’
Labour’s catalogue of anti-Semitism errors
The Equality and Human Right Commission today outlined numerous examples of anti-Semitism within Labour ranks and the failure of the party leadership to deal with it.
Some were committed by well-known figure while others were carried out by relatively unknown local officials and councillors.
Some failures were down to logistical and record-keeping failures, but others were caused by direct interference in the party’s complaints procedures by Jeremy Corbyn’s top team.
The report published today highlighted these examples:
Pam Bromley, a councillor on Rossendale Borough Council in Lancashire, posted on Facebook: ‘Had Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party pulled up the drawbridge and nipped the bogus AS (anti-Semitism) accusations in the bud in the first place we would not be where we are now and the fifth column in the LP (Labour Party) would not have managed to get such a foothold.’
‘Fakes and smears’:
In media interviews in April 2016, former London mayor Ken Livingstone, a Labour Party National Executive Committee (NEC) member, made reference to anti-Semitic social media posts made by Bradford MP Naz Shah. He repeatedly denied they were anti-Semitic and alleged there was a smear campaign by ‘the Israel lobby’ to undermine and disrupt the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn MP.
In April 2019, Ms Bromley posted on Facebook about ‘fake accusations of AS to undermine Labour. On 15 December 2019, she posted on Facebook about Jeremy Corbyn mentioning ‘the fake accusations of anti-Semitism in the LP’.
The EHRC said party members told it that Mr Livingstone’s remarks ’caused shock and anger among Jewish Labour Party members. They felt his comments were appalling, highly offensive and very distressing’
They also said Pam Bromley’s conduct, including the Facebook posts above, ‘contributed to a hostile environment in the Labour Party for Jewish and non-Jewish members’.
Political interference in anti-Semitism investigations:
A complaint was made in April 2018 regarding Mr Corbyn’s alleged support for an anti-Semitic mural. In an email to the party’s Governance and Legal Unit (GLU), the leader of the opposition’s office (LOTO) said that the complaint should be dismissed, stating that: ‘the complaint itself seems to fall well below the threshold required for investigation and if so surely the decision to dismiss it can be taken now’. The staff amended and approved the GLU’s written response to the complainant to include details on Jeremy Corbyn’s actions in relation to the mural.
The commission said there was evidence of LOTO staff being directly involved in the decision to investigate the second complaint of anti-Semitism made against Mr Livingstone.
Political interference in anti-Semitism suspensions;
In July 2016, the Labour Party wrote to Mr Livingstone, confirming that he had been suspended from the party ‘after conversations between the Leader of the Labour Party and his staff’.
In March 2018, Christine Shawcroft , the NEC Disputes Panel chairwoman emailed GLU staff, other NEC members and then general-secretary Jennie Formby, seeking to reinstate a member suspended for anti-Semitic social media posts so that they could stand as a candidate in local elections. The NEC had no authority to be involved in administrative suspension decisions by the GLU at that time.
Political interference in NEC and NCC panel hearings:
Following investigation into a second anti-Semitism complaint about Mr Livingstone, meeting notes show a LOTO staff member referring to the timing of the GLU’s investigation being reported to the NEC in March 2018 as: ‘V difficult timing—lots of politics. Discuss with [initials removed] about tabling it later. Need to discuss in LOTO over timing’.
In June 2016, Labour reopened a probe into Corbynite MP Chris Williamson after he was initially let off with a formal warning after being accused of anti-Semitism, amid a huge political outcry. He successfully challenged the decision to reopen the complaint in the High Court, which ruled: ‘It is not … difficult to infer that the true reason for the decision in this case was that members were influenced by the ferocity of the outcry following the June decision.’
Political interference in complaints as unlawful discrimination
In March 2018, the GLU requested LOTO’s help on a proposal to suspend a member due to alleged anti-Semitism. Mr Corbyn’s team replied that it wanted ‘immediate suspension of [name] and a robust press line to that effect’.
In April 2018, emails show that GLU staff sought ‘the green light’ from LOTO staff on whether Mr Livingstone could be subject to a formal interview. Thomas Gardiner (then seconded to the GSO) and Andrew Murray (former senior political adviser to Jeremy Corbyn) from LOTO confirmed that there was no option but to authorise the interview. A LOTO staff member, Laura Murray, commented: ‘we have let the Ken case drag on for far too long already and, if GLU leak to the press that we have held up this investigation of him, it will look beyond awful’.
Lack of clear and fair process for respondents
In 2016, a member was suspended with no details about the underlying allegations. Despite requesting this information on several occasions, they were not informed about the specific allegations until months later. They won a High Court injunction over the ‘unfair’ timing but were later expelled.
A party member was alleged to have made anti-Semitic comments during a parliamentary candidate selection process and in emails with other members of their Constituency Labour Party. They were never given any details about the allegations and later resigned.
A party member was alleged to have made anti-Semitic comments on social media and at a meeting. The Labour Party did not tell the member which meeting this related to, what they were alleged to have said, or who complained
A member was sent a notice of investigation, which referred to comments they were accused of making that might meet the definition of anti-Semitism. They were not told what those comments were, when they were said to have made them, where, or to whom they were alleged to have been made.
Inconsistent application of suspensions
A complaint was made about a party member in May 2016. The member’s suspension happened around four months later, following a press briefing by the Leader of the Opposition’s Office to the media that an administrative suspension was likely.
Two members were administratively suspended many months after the Labour Party received the complaints about them, one in March 2018 and the other in February 2019. This was in apparent response to social media / media interest, without any new evidence becoming available.
Unclear decision-making by the NEC and NCC
The NCC’s decision, in March 2019, to expel a member did not contain any detail about the decision-making process or the reasons for reaching its decision, dspite going ahead in the accused’s absence after they and their legal team left at the start.
In March 2019, the NEC decided to impose a formal warning, overruling guidance to refer the case upwards to the NCC. They gave no reason.
Inaction and delay
In 2016, a Labour councillor shared an image of Jewish banker, Jacob Rothschild, on their Facebook page along with a caption claiming that the Rothschild family and other institutions, including the City of London and the Vatican, ‘own our News, our Media, our Oil and even our governments’. There is no evidence that it was investigated.
The Labour Party was notified of Pam Bromley’s Facebook activity on May 24 2017. It took no action until April 4 2018, and the NCC hearing did not take place until March 21 2019.
A complaint was made against a member on September 13 2016, but no action was taken on the complaint until April 7 the following year. The NCC did not conclude the case against the member until over a year later.
Failure to provide adequate reasons for punishment
Mr Williamson was accused of making public comments about anti-Semitism smears, supporting members expelled for anti-Semitism, and sharing social media posts relating to others accused of Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism.
The GLU report recommended referral to the NCC – which could lead to expulsion – saying he had not demonstrated an understanding of why his conduct amounted to a pattern of behaviour that appeared to demonstrate hostility or prejudice towards Jewish people, and had not shown any understanding of why he should not share platforms with former members expelled due to antisemitism. Instead of referring the case to the NCC, the NEC Disputes Panel imposed a formal warning. It did not provide any reason for its decision.
On April 23 2019, an NEC Disputes Panel imposed a formal warning on a member for anti-Semitism posts on social media, although the GLU recommended that the case should be referred up to the NCC. The social media comments included: ‘How can we not have empathy with the Palestinians when they are up against these murdering, Zionest [sic] b*stards. Their NAZI masters taught them well’. Detailed notes of the NEC Disputes Panel meeting and the reason for the sanction were not kept.
Poor record-keeping, implementation and monitoring of sanctions
The NEC decided that a member should receive a formal warning and delete theiranti-Semitism social media posts. It warned that if they offended again, the complaint would be referred to the NCC. However, the warning letter that was sent did not mention deleting the offending posts.
In January 2019, the NEC imposed a formal warning and a requirement for training on a local councillor. Instead of issuing a formal warning, the GLU mistakenly issued a Reminder of Conduct with no training.
Use of education and training as a sanction
The conduct of a member against another member was deemed anti-Semitism. They expressed no remorse and suggested that the complainant (who was Jewish) should be held responsible for the actions of the Israeli government. In 2018, the NEC gave the member a formal warning and continued their administrative suspension for another year. The member was given the caveat that if they attended training by a ‘recognised provider’, the suspension would be lifted automatically. However, no training was provided.
Anti-Semitic conduct on social media
A member was suspended in 2016 for a range of anti-Semitic tweets of other people’s content. The suspension was lifted despite the member’s wider social media activity revealing shares of Holocaust denial and antisemitic conspiracy theories. The individual remained a member until they resigned two years later.
A member shared a meme in March 2018, which expressed that ‘an anti-Semite is now someone Jews hate’. They had also shared other anti-Semitic content on social media, including a Holocaust denial article. This was not investigated, but the Labour Party said that the member was suspended in 2019 following ‘historical audits’.
In 2018, complaints were made about several retweets of Rothschild conspiracy theories. This was not investigated but, again, following historical audits, the member was put under investigation in 2019.
The Socialist Campaign Group of left-wing MPs, led by former shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon, condemned Mr Corbyn’s suspension, saying: ‘We will work tirelessly for his reinstatement.
‘The fight against anti-Semitism and all forms of racism is central to the struggle for a society based on justice and equality.’
And the pro-Corbyn Momentum pressure group said: ‘This suspension risks politicising Labour’s response to anti-Semitism.
‘It is a massive attack on the left by the new leadership and should be immediately lifted in the interests of party unity.’
The EHRC found that Labour broke equalities law over two cases, including one which involved former London mayor Ken Livingstone ‘using antisemitic tropes and suggesting that complaints of anti-Semitism were fake or smears’ in 2016, before he quit the party.
It has been given until December 10 to act on recommendations in the report or find itself in court.
Sir Keir this morning initially side to sidestep the issue of whether he would take direct action against his predecessor in the wake of the report as he addressed reporters.
This was despite saying: ‘If – after all the pain, all the grief, and all the evidence in this report – there are still those who think there’s no problem with anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, that it’s all exaggerated, or a factional attack, then, frankly, you are part of the problem too. And you should be nowhere near the Labour Party either.’
But the comments in Mr Corbyn’s statement forced the party to act, and threatening to see Labour embroiled in another civil war over anti-semitism.
This afternoon Mr Corbyn denied he was ‘part of the problem’ and told broadcasters he would not quit Labour:
‘Of course not. I am proud to be a member of the Labour Party, I joined the Labour party when I was 16, I’ve fought racism all my life, and I’ll fight racism for the rest of my life,’ he said.
He later tweeted that the suspension was a ‘political intervention’.
But Jewish Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge said: ‘This is the right decision following Corbyn’s shameful reaction to the EHRC report.
‘Labour is finally saying enough is enough, anti-Semitism can never be tolerated in our party. Now we can finally move on.’
Mr Corbyn urged his Labour supporters to ‘stay in the party’ to fight for left-wing principles following the decision to suspend him.
In a broadcast interview in Islington following the removal of the whip, Mr Corbyn called for calm and for members to ‘make the case’ for left-wing values internally.
‘Quite clearly the decision was made in a very quick way and I would just say, hang on a minute, let’s all keep a bit calm, let’s think again about this whole issue,’ he said.
‘Our party comes together to fight racism and injustice but we also come together to bring about economic justice for the people of this country,’
‘That is what unites our movement and our party and that is what I appeal to members to focus on.
‘Don’t go away, don’t leave the party. Stay in the party and argue the case for economic and social justice in our society.’
During the interview, the Islington North MP refused to retract his earlier statements, saying the ‘public perception’ about how many members were under investigation for anti-Semitism was ‘very different’ to the reality.
But he added: ‘I’ve explained what I said, I’ve explained what I meant by it. I’m not diminishing or minimising the issue of anti-Semitism.
‘It is serious, it is real, it does exist.
‘I’ve explained what the statement was designed to say, simply the size of the issue.
‘But one anti-Semite is one too many and I’ve made that clear to everyone in the party.’
Former shadow chancellor John McDonnell described the suspension of Mr Corbyn as ‘profoundly wrong’ on Twitter.
‘On the day we should all be moving forward & taking all steps to fight anti-Semitism, the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn is profoundly wrong,’ he tweeted.
‘In interests of party unity let’s find a way of undoing & resolving this.
‘I urge all party members to stay calm as that is the best way to support Jeremy and each other. Let’s all call upon the leadership to lift this suspension.’
Speaking to reporters today, Alasdair Henderson, from the EHRC, said ‘The failure of leadership was during the time when Jeremy Corbyn was leader.
‘As leader of the party, with evidence of political interference within his office, he has a responsibility for those failings.’
The EHRC launched an investigation last year into claims that the party under Jeremy Corbyn had victimised Jews and turned a blind eye to hard-Left racism.
It was only the second time such a probe had been opened into a political party – the first was into the BNP.
The party is responsible for three breaches of the Equality Act (2010) relating to: political interference in complaints, failure to provide adequate training to those handling anti-Semitism cases and harassment.
The party has been served with an unlawful act notice and has been given until December 10 to draft an action plan to implement the report’s recommendations, which is legally enforceable by the courts if not fulfilled.
The EHRC found evidence of political interference in the complaints process, with 23 instances of inappropriate involvement by the Leader of the Opposition’s Office (LOTO) and others in the 70 files the watchdog looked at.
They included LOTO staff influencing decisions, including on suspensions or whether to investigate claims.
The EHRC found the situation to be indirectly discriminatory and unlawful as it put the person making the complaint at a disadvantage.
The watchdog found that the lack of training for people handling anti-Semitism complaints indirectly discriminated against Jewish members until August 2020, by which time Sir Keir Starmer was leader of the party.
Labour has committed to proper training, with the EHRC recommending it should be mandatory and fully implemented within six months.
Lord Mann, a former Labour MP and independent adviser to the Government on anti-Semitism, tweeted: ‘The moment of greatest shame in the history of the Labour Party.
‘And to think how many said it was all made up and exaggerated. Which amongst them will stand up and say that I am truly sorry?’
The Jewish Labour Movement said the report showed that ‘the blame for this sordid, disgraceful chapter in the Labour Party’s history lies firmly with those who held positions of leadership – those who possessed both power and influence to prevent the growth of anti-Jewish racism, but failed to act.’
In a statement it said: ‘What the report shows is that, worse than simply failing to act, the leadership of the Labour Party actively interfered in the processes relating to anti-Semitism, for political reasons.
‘This failure of leadership amounted to unlawful conduct that facilitated antisemitism to become normalised within the Labour Party, a situation that continues to this day, that must be stopped, and must never happen again.
The EHRC report said it ‘uncovered serious failings’ in the way complaints were handled, until at least 2018, during which Jeremy Corbyn was Labour leader.
The report stated: ‘We found that the Labour Party’s response to anti-Semitism complaints has been inconsistent, poor and not transparent, in terms of the process used, reasons for decisions, record-keeping, delay and failures to communicate with complainants.
‘Some complaints were unjustifiably not investigated at all.’
The report also found ‘evidence of political interference in the handling of anti-Semitism complaints throughout the period of the investigation’.
The report added: ‘We have concluded that this practice of political interference was unlawful. The evidence shows that staff from the Leader of the Opposition’s Office (LOTO) were able to influence decisions on complaints, especially decisions on whether to suspend someone.
‘Sometimes these decisions were made because of likely press interest rather than any clear formal criteria.’
Caroline Waters, Interim chairwoman of the EHRC, said: ‘The Labour Party made a commitment to zero tolerance for anti-Semitism. 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 anti-Semitism rather than an inability to do so.
‘It is encouraging to see the Party’s new leadership has committed to implementing our recommendations in full. If the Party truly wants to rebuild trust with its members and the Jewish community, it must acknowledge the impact that numerous investigations and years of failure to tackle anti-Semitism has had on Jewish people, and take swift, sincere action to improve.
‘Politicians on all sides have a responsibility to set standards for our public life and to lead the way in challenging racism in all its forms. There have been recent examples of behaviour from politicians of various parties that fall well below the standards we would expect.
‘While freedom of expression is essential to proper political debate, politicians must recognise the power of their language to sow division. Our recommendations provide a foundation for leaders to make sure that they adhere to equality law and demonstrate their commitment to diversity and inclusion through their words and actions.’
The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism said: ‘The debate is over. Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, the Labour Party became institutionally anti-Semitic. It drove almost half of British Jews to consider leaving the country.
‘For five miserable years, every effort to compel Labour to reform failed. We were left with no choice but to refer the Party to the EHRC, which launched an investigation with us as complainant.
‘The EHRC’s findings and recommendations today – that Labour’s leadership and culture created an unlawful environment that discriminated against Jews – closely align with the hundreds of pages of evidence and argument that we submitted to the EHRC over many months.
‘Frankly, this report would not be much different had we written it. It is the dispensing of British justice that British Jews have sorely awaited, but has been denied for too long.
Jeremy Corbyn’s statement in full:
‘Anti-Semitism 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 anti-Semitism. 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 anti-Semites. My team acted to speed up, not hinder the process.
‘Anyone claiming there is no anti-Semitism 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 anti-Semite 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.’
In a joint statement today the leaders of Britain’s Jewish community blasted Mr Corbyn.
Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jewish Leadership Council chairman Jonathan Goldstein and Mark Gardner, chief executive of the Community Security Trust, said: ‘This report is a damning verdict on what Labour did to Jews under Jeremy Corbyn and his allies. It proves why British Jews were so distressed and it disgraces those who attacked us for speaking out against anti-Jewish racism.
‘Our Jewish community never wanted this fight, but we had to defend ourselves and are proud to have done so. We thank all those who stood with us, despite the abuse they received as a result.
‘Jeremy Corbyn will rightly be blamed for what he has done to Jews and Labour, but the truth is more disturbing, as he was little more than a figurehead for old and new anti-Jewish attitudes.
‘All of this was enabled by those who deliberately turned a blind eye.’
According to the Jewish Labour Movement’s submission to the inquiry, Jewish members faced vile abuse and Mr Corbyn’s office interfered in anti-Semitism cases.
It listed nine cases in which the former leader had personally ‘engaged in’ anti-Semitism, and concluded that the party was ‘no longer a safe space for Jewish people or for those who stand up against anti-Semitism’.
The saga began in 2017 when the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism approached the EHRC after the Daily Mail revealed that the Labour conference fringe had played host to a speaker who said the Holocaust should be open to debate.
Labour received a copy of the report in July, but it has remained under wraps over the summer so that those named in its pages have a right to reply.
Dave Ward, general secretary of the Communications Workers’ Union, said the decision to suspend Mr Corbyn was ‘fundamentally wrong and needs to change’.
Meanwhile, money has been flowing in to a crowdfund aimed at paying Mr Corbyn’s legal costs should he face defamation action over earlier comments made about the anti-Semitism row.
Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner told BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme: ‘I’m devastated that it’s come to this. Today should be about really listening, and reading the report and taking in the report.
Jewish Labour MP Dame Margaret Hodge said: ‘This is the right decision following Corbyn’s shameful reaction to the EHRC report. ‘Labour is finally saying enough is enough, anti-Semitism can never be tolerated in our party. Now we can finally move on.’
Andrew Cassidy, a Labour Party member of 10 years resigned his membership in protest at the suspension of former leader Jeremy Corbyn
‘It’s a day of shame for the Labour Party and the findings were stark.
‘Jeremy is a fully decent man, but as Margaret Hodge said, he has an absolute blind spot, and a denial, when it comes to some of these issues and that’s devastating.’
She rejected Mr Corbyn’s assertion that anti-Semitism had been exaggerated and said the findings of the EHRC bring ‘shame on us’.
‘And there’s no mitigation of that, and we have to acknowledge that and do something about it,’ Ms Rayner added.
Karie Murphy, who has herself been accused of meddling in anti-Semitism cases, claimed: ‘Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, anti-Semites 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.’
Ex-London mayor Ken Livingstone guilty of ‘unlawful harassment’ of Jewish Labour members, report finds
Former London mayor Ken Livingstone launched a tirade against ‘parts of the media and by political opponents’ today after a major report into Labour anti-Semitism found that he committed ‘unlawful harassment’ of Jews.
The hard Left politician, 75, who ran the capital from 2000 to 2008, was castigated by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) over comments in made in 2016 in support of Bradford MP Naz Shah.
Mr Livingstone is involved in one of two cases where the EHRC ruled that Labour broke equalities law.
The watchdog accused him of ‘unwanted conduct related to Jewish ethnicity’ in his defence of Ms Shah, who was caught out over a Facebook post made before she became an MP.
In a statement posted on his website today, Mr Livingstone said: ‘I am proud of my record as an anti-racist and a leading campaigner against the far-right and their hate, from when I joined the Labour Party in 1969, through my life since, including serving as a local councillor, Greater London Council member, MP, Mayor of London and Labour National Executive Committee member.
‘I have always implacably opposed anti-Semitism. As a life-long anti-racist, I am deeply hurt by – and fully reject – the accusations again being circulated across parts of the media and by political opponents that I am anything but 100 per cent committed to fighting all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism.’
The EHRC served Labour with an unlawful act notice under the Equality Act over two cases – one of which involved comments made by former London major Ken Livingstone
Under the Equality Act 2010, the Labour Party is legally responsible for unlawful conduct carried out by its agents in the course of their authorised functions or duties
Mr Livingstone is a longstanding ally and supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, and had a strained relationship with the Labour leadership under Gordon Brown and Tony Blair.
In 2016 the former mayor waded into the row over anti-Semitic Facebook posts by Ms Shah in 2014, before she was Bradford West MP.
She shared a graphic which was headlined ‘Solution for Israel-Palestine Conflict – Relocate Israel into United States’ and she added: ‘problem solved.’
In a series of apologies, Ms Shah admitted the posts were not ‘excusable’ and vowed to help build relations between faith communities in penance for her statements. She remains a Labour MP.
But as the row broke out, Mr Livingstone went public to back her, even though she had apologised.
The EHRC report noted: ‘He sought to minimise their offensive nature by stating that they were merely criticism of Israeli policy at a time of conflict with the Palestinians.
‘He also alleged that scrutiny of Naz Shah’s conduct was part of an apparent smear campaign by ”the Israel lobby” to stigmatise critics of Israel as anti-Semitic, as well as being aimed at undermining and disrupting the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn MP. These comments were made on radio shows with large audiences.’
It added: ‘Ken Livingstone’s comments, set out above, were unwanted conduct related to Jewish ethnicity.
‘The evidence referred to above shows that these statements had the effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for members, and prospective members, of the Labour Party, particularly those who were Jewish.’
Mr Livingstone was suspended by the party in 2017 over further alleged anti-Semitic comments and resigned the following year amid calls for his expulsion.
Labour tainted by anti-Semitism accusations during Jeremy Corbyn’s five years as leader
The anti-Semitism scandal has dogged Labour since Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader in 2015.
Here is a timeline of the controversies:
Labour MP Naz Shah is suspended for anti-Semitic posts – including one in which she appeared to endorse calls for Israelis to be deported to the US.
She apologises and is given a formal warning.
Ken Livingstone goes on the radio to defend Ms Shah – but sparks fresh controversy by claiming that Hitler supported Zionism.
He is suspended by Labour but refuses to apologise and has repeated the claim many times.
He eventually quits Labour two years later, saying his suspension has become a distraction.
A two-month inquiry by civil liberties campaigner Shami Chakrabarti finds that Labour is not overrun by anti-Semitism.
But the launch is overshadowed when Jewish Labour MP Ruth Smeeth flees it in tears after being accused by Corbyn supporter Marc Wadsworth of colluding with the press.
Critics accuse the report of being a whitewash and Ms Chakrabarti is widely criticised for accepting a peerage from Jeremy Corbyn shortly afterwards.
The Home Affairs Select Committee says Labour is guilty of incompetence over its handling of anti-Semitism and of creating a safe space for people with ‘vile attitudes towards Jewish people’.
It is revealed that Jeremy Corbyn defended an artist who painted an anti-Semitic mural and said the offensive art should be removed.
He apologises saying he did not properly look at the picture before he made the post.
Jewish leaders take the unprecedented step of holding a demonstration outside Parliament protesting Mr Corbyn’s failure to tackle anti-Semitism.
Several Labour MPs address the crowds.
Marc Wadsworth was expelled from Labour after being accused of anti-Semitism in 2018
Marc Wadsworth is expelled from Labour after being accused of anti-Semitism.
Meanwhile, Labour Jewish MPs tell of the anti-Semitic abuse they have suffered in a powerful parliamentary debate – and round on their leader for failing to tackle it.
The Labour leadership sparks fresh anger by failing to fully adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism
Peter Willsman, a strong ally of Jeremy Corbyn, is secretly taped ranting that Jewish ‘Trump fanatics’ invented the anti-Semitism storm engulfing Labour.
In an angry diatribe at a meeting of Labour’s ruling executive committee, Peter Willsman said he was ‘amazed’ there was evidence party members hated Jews.
In an angry diatribe at a meeting of Labour’s ruling executive committee, he said he was ‘amazed’ there was evidence party members hated Jews.
He claimed ‘some of these people in the Jewish community support Trump – they are Trump fanatics’ before shouting: ‘So I am not going to be lectured to by Trump fanatics making up duff information without any evidence at all.’
Jeremy Corbyn issues a video insisting he is committed to tackling the racism – but it is panned by Jewish leaders.
Corbynistas mount a social media campaign to get deputy Labour leader Tom Watson to quit after he criticises the party’s handling of anti-Semitism.
The Daily Mail exclusively publishes photos of Jeremy Corbyn holding a wreath at a ceremony where a terrorist linked to the Munich massacre was honoured.
The Labour leader insists he was there to honour others killed – but faces fresh calls to quit over the scandal.
Nine MPs including Luciana Berger, Joan Ryan and Ian Austin are among those who quit the Labour Party with broadsides at inaction over anti-Semitism under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
Berger, the Jewish Liverpool Wavertree MP, had faced a barrage of attacks from members of her own local party as well as wider abuse, said Labour had become ‘institutionally anti-Semitic’.
Berger, the Jewish Liverpool Wavertree MP, faced a barrage of attacks from members of her own local party as well as wider abuse, said Labour had become ‘institutionally anti-Semitic’
Enfield MP Joan Ryan was attacked because she was the chairwoman of Labour friends of Israel. And Dudley’s Ian Austen, who adoptive father was Jewish, said he had become ‘ashamed’ of what the party had become under Mr Corbyn’s leadership.
MP Chris Williamson, a close ally of Mr Corbyn, quits the party after being blocked from restanding in his Derby North seat at the general election. He had been suspended after saying that Labour had been ‘too apologetic’ about anti-Semitism.
Mr Corbyn later faced an anti-Semitism row of his own after a major intervention by the Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis. He accused the left-winger of allowing the ‘poison’ of anti-Semitism to take root in Labour. His comments were later backed up by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Mr Corbyn declined repeatedly to apologise to British Jews in a searing interview by the BBC’s Andrew Neil and said that Mr Mirvis was ‘wrong’.
Labour is humiliated in a general election it voted to trigger. Mr Corbyn leads the party to its worst defeat since the 1930s, handing Boris Johnson an 80-seat majority. Among the losses are a broad swathe of Red Wall seats – Labour heartlands that have voted for the party for decades.
Mr Corbyn announces he will step down as party leader, triggering a leadership election. He backs Corbynite shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey to succeed him.
Moderate former shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer beats Ms Long-Bailey to the leadership, but he retains her as shadow education secretary in his shadow cabinet.
That month an internal party report finds that anti-Semitism was so rife within Labour that some members’ views were like those of neo-Nazis.
Investigators said prejudice against Jews became common within the party and revealed Mr Corbyn did little to help discipline offenders until two years ago.
The report highlighted ‘a litany of mistakes and missed opportunities’ amid strained relations between Mr Corbyn’s office and Labour HQ, but a better approach to anti-Semitism complaints had since been established.
Nearly 900 members have been investigated or suspended for anti-Jewish hate in the past three years with 63 expelled.
Sir Keir sacks Ms Long-Bailey after she praised an interview in which actress Maxine Peake peddled an ‘anti-Semitic conspiracy theory’.
The shadow education secretary posted a link to an interview in which Peake – one of her constituents – claimed that US police learned ‘neck-kneeling’ restrain techniques used on murdered black man George Floyd from Israeli spies. The remark was described as ‘textbook casual anti-Semitism’ by Labour MPs.
Ms Long-Bailey sparked fury by describing the ex-Communist star of TV programmes including Shameless as an ‘absolute diamond’. She later tried to excuse the message by claiming she had not been endorsing all the content of the article.
Labour makes an unreserved apology to seven whistleblowers smeared by the party after they raised concerns over anti-Semitism.
Sir Keir Starmer agrees to pay ‘substantial damages’ to former employees who contributed to a BBC probe into whether the party had victimised Jews.
In a humiliating statement in the High Court, the party accepted it had made ‘false and defamatory’ comments about the whistleblowers and had caused them ‘distress, embarrassment and hurt’.
The party also paid damages to John Ware, the veteran journalist behind the Panorama programme. It is believed the affair cost Labour up to £500,000 in legal costs and damages.
But hard-Left former leader Mr Corbyn said it was ‘disappointing’ that the party had settled the claim, adding that it was a ‘political decision, not a legal one’ – prompting the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism to call for him to be suspended from the Labour Party.