EHRC’s own report says Corbyn’s right to express the opinion he has expressed is protected under human rights law
Labour has suspended Jeremy Corbyn and withdrawn the party whip for refusing to retract a statement that the scale of antisemitism in the Labour Party was tiny compared to the impression created by the media.
The EHRC report explicitly states that Corbyn is not only entitled to exactly that opinion, but that his right to express it is protected by human rights law – and even that as an MP he has enhanced protection:
• Speech does not lose the protection of Article 10 just because it is offensive, provocative or would be regarded by some as insulting.
• Statements made by elected politicians have enhanced protection under Article 10.
• Relevant factors will include whether speech is intended to inform rather than offend, whether it forms part of an ongoing debate of public interest and whether it consists of alleged statements of fact, or of value judgment.
We also take into account how far the speech or conduct interferes with the rights of others, and the severity of impact of any measures that we might propose to take in respect of it.
Article 10 will protect Labour Party members who, for example, make legitimate7 criticisms of the Israeli government, or express their opinions on internal Party matters, such as the scale of antisemitism within the Party, based on their own experience and within the law.
It looks like Labour hasn’t read, or doesn’t care, that Corbyn was perfectly entitled to say what he did – and perfectly entitled not to retract it.
Keir Starmer’s press office was approached with this information but declined to comment except to say the decision to suspend Corbyn’s Labour membership was taken by general secretary David Evans. Despite a further request, no comment was forthcoming on the decision to withdraw the whip, which would be taken by Keir Starmer, nor on why the party is acting unlawfully according to the EHRC report.
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