Possible charges for Labour due to human rights and Anti-Semitism

The Human Rights Watchdog says that the Labour Party may have unlawfully discriminated against Jewish people. A formal investigation is also being considered by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) into anti-Semitism in the party.

The Labour Party reacted by saying that they ‘completely reject’ any suggestion about the party acting in an unlawful way. They will be co-operating fully with the EHRC in their investigation. The watchdog has requested that the Labour Party work with them to improve the processes.

Once the Labour Party has received the formal letter from the EHRC, they have 14 days to respond to the issues which have been raised. The commission will then take enforcement action. Depending on the response from the Party, this may vary from a voluntary agreement to a complete investigation.

Should a formal investigation be launched the EHRC would then call for interviews with leading figures in the Labour Party. They will also have the power to access any correspondence they need, along with emails and any other paperwork they feel is informative to aid them in determining how the Party handled allegations of anti-Semitic discrimination.

The investigation came about because of complaints which were received from several organisations and individuals, including the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism.

A spokesperson from the Equality and Human Rights Commission stated that having received these complaints regarding anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, they believed that people may have been unlawfully discriminated against by the Party because of their religious beliefs and their ethnicity.

The spokesperson went on to say that these concerns were enough for the Commission to consider the use of their statutory enforcement powers.

He concluded by saying that they were now discussing the issue with the Labour Party and giving them an opportunity to respond. The matter is being handled in accordance with the Equality and Human Rights Commission enforcement policy.

Should the watchdog find that the Labour Party has a case to answer to, there may be an inquiry launched under Section 20 of the Equalities Act. This will examine the internal processes of the Party to find out whether they are compliant with the law.

A similar enquiry was carried out by the watchdog in 2016 against the Metropolitan Police, over allegations of harassment, victimization, and discrimination of black and ethnic minorities, as well as gay and female officers.

Replying, spokesperson for the Labour Party stated that they were ‘fully committed to the support, defense, and celebration of the Jewish community.’

Labour said that anti-Semitism complaints since April 2018 related to 0.1% of the membership, although just one anti-Semite in the party is simply one too many. Labour is determined to root this out in the party.

Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer is the preferred person to carry out a review of the way anti-Semitism claims are handled. He is at present considering whether to accept this offer. A prominent Jewish Labour MP feels that he is not independent enough for the position.

Dame Margaret Hodge welcomed the EHRC announcement. She stated that faith in the Labour Party is at rock bottom, and it is now essential that they make all necessary enquiries. There is a desperate need to cultivate a zero-tolerance attitude in the Labour Party towards anti-Semitism.

A member of the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, Gideon Falter said that his organization had been forced to look for an impartial, external investigation because calls from the Jewish community for tougher action had been continually rebuffed.

Several members and MP’s had abandoned the Party because it had repeatedly failed to address the anti-Semitism problem inside the Party.

The irony of the situation in which Labour finds itself is that it is now being investigated by the Equality and Human Rights Regulator, which they themselves established a decade ago.

The Labour Party has been accused on many occasions of anti-Semitism since mid-2016, with party leadership being accused of tolerating an anti-Jewish prejudice. This has resulted in several of its own MP’s quitting the Party.

Leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn still insists that he is ‘getting to grips with the issue’. He has ‘beefed-up the internal disciplinary procedures’. This comes after the recent suspension of Labour MP Chris Williamson who said that the party had been ‘too apologetic and given too much ground to its critics’.

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