Friday, 12 Aug 2022

Antisemitism issue used as ‘factional weapon’ in Labour civil war

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The party said yesterday that its general secretary had received the report and was due to take it to a meeting of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC). It has since been published online.

Martin Forde QC, a barrister and former independent adviser to the Windrush compensation scheme, was chosen by the NEC to chair an inquiry into the “circumstances, contents and release” of the “internal” dossier in 2020.

The 860-page document found “no evidence” of anti-Semitism being handled differently from other complaints and blamed “factional opposition” towards ex-leader Jeremy Corbyn for hampering efforts to tackle the issue.

His allies used the dossier to say elements of the party undermined his leadership.

But the foreword to the Forde report says: “The evidence clearly demonstrated that a vociferous faction in the party sees any issues regarding anti-Semitism as exaggerated by the right to embarrass the left.

“It was, of course, also true that some opponents of Jeremy Corbyn saw the issue of anti-Semitism as a means of attacking him.

“Thus, rather than confront the paramount need to deal with the profoundly serious issue of anti-Semitism in the party, both factions treated it as a factional weapon.”

The foreword also said the disciplinary process was “not fit for purpose” and was “potentially prone to factional interference” during the period it investigated – 2015 to 2019. However, it did say “many aspects of the party’s recent reforms of disciplinary procedures” were to be applauded.

The report also found that while “some progress” had been made in relation to sexism, “there is more to be done”.

It said: “The party needs to be alive to the subtler ways in which even senior women can feel excluded and undermined.”

On tackling racism, it found that “less progress has been made”.

Labour said: “The Forde report details a party that was out of control.

“Keir Starmer is now in control and has made real progress in ridding the party of the destructive factionalism and unacceptable culture that did so much damage previously and contributed to our defeat in 2019.”

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