EHRC report criticises Labour for conduct in expelling Jackie Walker and others

Black Jewish activist is not named, but description of case is unmistakable

Jackie Walker

The Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) report has been highly critical of the conduct of Labour’s bureaucracy before Jennie Formby became the party’s general secretary, as brilliantly exposed by Peter Oborne and Richard Sanders this week, including instances of conduct that damaged those accused of antisemitism – which the report says was frequently because of undue political and media pressure.

Of course, none of this detail has been remotely featured in the so-called ‘mainstream’ media’s coverage of the EHRC’s findings.

But one aspect of the report that has not been covered is the fact that the report criticises the party’s treatment of one of the most high-profile and vilified figures expelled by the party: black Jewish activist Jackie Walker.

Walker is frequently described by her opponents as expelled from the party for antisemitism, but as so often this is inaccurate, as antisemitism accusations against her were dismissed by Labour’s National Constitutional Committee (NCC). But the EHRC was highly critical this week of the party’s treatment of those accused – and used Walker’s case, as a specific example.

A section of the report strongly criticises the party’s ‘inadequate’ provision of information surrounding decisions made by its National Executive Committee (NEC) and NCC, which it says effectively deprived members of their right to appeal and undermined confidence in the decision process:

“We… question how someone can use [their right of appeal] properly without knowing the underlying reasoning”

Though Walker is not named, the timing and description of the case are unmistakable. Walker herself has said that a note-taker was present at her case, raising the question of why Labour either withheld or was not able to provide records to the EHRC.

Unsurprisingly, this criticism has not been highlighted by those who have spent years attacking Walker and others, who have otherwise been extremely vocal this week.

But when the EHRC’s criticism of ‘political interference’ in disciplinary processes speaks more of interventions to speed up action of make it more severe than it does of disadvantages to complainants, any fair and honest analysis of the report’s findings must surely acknowledge the prominence of harm done to those complained against.

Labour has also been accused this week of ignoring the voices of the many Jewish members and supporters whose views are at odds with those of groups on the right.

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