Anti-Corbyn staff 'sabotaged' Labour's anti-semitism inquiry, report claims

Anti-Corbyn staff 'sabotaged' Labour's anti-semitism inquiry, report claims
3 min read
13 April, 2020
A leaked internal party report has claimed that 'hyper-factional' staffers opposed to Jeremy Corbyn sabotaged anti-semitism investigations.
Jeremy Corbyn's time as Labour leader was dogged by allegations of anti-semitism [Getty]
A leaked internal report by the UK Labour Party has revealed that "hyper-factional" staff members allegedly hampered efforts by former party leader Jeremy Corbyn to tackle anti-semitism allegations.

The 860-page report, which came to completion towards the end of Corbyn's leadership, was intended as an annexe to an inquiry into Labour's handling of anti-semitism complaints by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

Its findings, which clash with claims by whistleblowers that the Corbyn leadership had interfered in anti-semitism probes, will not be submitted to the EHRC after an intervention by the party's lawyers.

According to the report's anonymous authors, no evidence was found that anti-semitism complaints were handled differently from other forms of complaints. It added that there was no evidence that staff were "motivated by antisemitic intent", The Guardian reported on Monday.

Splits in Labour over Corbyn's leadership of the party also appear to have affected how staffers dealt with claims.

The report found: "Abundant evidence of a hyper-factional atmosphere prevailing in party HQ in this period, which appears to have affected the expeditious and resolute handling of disciplinary complaints."

It adds: "At its extreme, some employees seem to have taken a view that the worse things got for Labour the happier they would be, since this might expedite Jeremy Corbyn’s departure from office.

"Further, there is little evidence of strong management of procedures, workloads and priorities in HQ, which also impacted GLU’s work," referring to the party's governance and legal unit (GLU).

Islamophobia

The report also alleges how a local Labour secretary was expelled from the party after receiving Islamophobic abuse and lodging a complaint about it.

It claimed that in 2017, Ilford South Constituency Labour Party (CLP) secretary Syed Siddiqi became embroiled in a dispute with fellow party member Manjit Panesar, who had allegedly made Islamophobic remarks after he was removed from a WhatsApp chat group.

"You cannot give me this f*cking Islamic bullshit... Islamic fundamentalist lunatic," Siddiqi allegedly recorded Panesar saying after accusing the secetary of removing him from the group. 

Panesar was later suspended from the party.

Action against Siddiqi's was supported by the offices of Labour MPs Mike Gapes of West Streeting, according to the report.

Panesar would later replace the suspended Siddiqi and Ilford South CLP secretary in 2018.

Read also: Labour leadership contenders throw Palestine under the bus, once again

The report also reveals that a Labour Party staffer leaked information on the wherabouts of former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott after she was reportedly "crying in the loos".

Abbott, an ally of Corbyn, has long often been the target of racist and sexist abuse.

Recently-elected Labour leader Keir Starmer has pledged to tackle anti-semitism within the party, however, the report will increase pressure on him to also address other forms of discrimination.

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