Labour members are asking whether Keir Starmer will suspend another former party leader for comments criticising the EHRC.
Harriet Harman, who was interim Labour leader after Ed Miliband’s resignation, chairs a parliamentary committee that has issued a report on racism against black people that is highly critical of a weak EHRC it describes as inadequate, unfit for purpose – and even so ‘scared of its own shadow’ that it scarcely dare gainsay the government’s agenda.
The Joint Committee on Human Rights report attacks the state’s ‘architecture’ as failing to protect human rights or racial equality – and goes on to make clear that the EHRC has a central role in this, failing to ‘provide leadership and gain trust, while failing to represent black people at all in its ‘top level’:
Unfit and asymmetrical
The report says that the EHRC’s powers are ‘not fit for purpose- and that it operates with a built-in asymmetry in how it handles cases involving black people:
No interest in implementation
The report also concluded that it is ‘clear that the EHRC doesn’t think it has a role in making sure anything actually happens with recommendations to protect black people’s human rights:
Not as good as what it replaced
The committee reports that it was repeatedly told that the EHRC doesn’t measure up to the performance of the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE), which it replaced:
Former party leader Jeremy Corbyn was suspended by Labour’s hierarchy for making a comment on the level of antisemitism, despite the EHRC report making clear his right to do so is legally protected.
Labour members have been ordered not to debate or vote on motions about either the suspension or the fitness of the EHRC.
So will Starmer now take action against Corbyn’s predecessor for chairing a committee that has heavily criticised the EHRC?
Or is it actually perfectly valid and acceptable to point out the weaknesses in a clearly flawed organisation, or the facts in its report?
In which case, lack of action against Harriet Harman would seem to support conclusion that the action against Jeremy Corbyn and Labour members is as politically driven as many have said.
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