Keir Starmer’s commitment that Labour would implement the whole of the EHRC report’s requirements has already been shredded by his political interference and disregard for the party’s rules after the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn was lifted by a right-dominated panel of NEC members who had been advised there were no legitimate grounds to suspend him – and by the searing letter from fourteen NEC members ordering the party’s general secretary David Evans to rebuke Starmer and instruct him to restore the whip to Corbyn without delay.
Corbyn’s original suspension had also broken party rules – and flouted the EHRC report’s clear statement that he had a legally-protected right to make the comments for which he was suspended.
But the party is also failing on more basic processes.
Five months ago, SKWAWKBOX editor Steve Walker submitted a detailed antisemitism complaint against Keir Starmer for his actions equating Jewish people with the state of Israel in his comments about his decision to sack Rebecca Long-Bailey from the front bench for sharing a correct article by actor Maxine Peake:
The party has not responded even to acknowledge the complaint. But page 74 of the EHRC’s report states that the party must keep all involved in any antisemitism complaint updated with its progress:
• Develop and implement comprehensive internal guidance for all stages of the antisemitism complaints process on:
• decision-making criteria
• robust record-keeping, including recording reasons for decisions
• timescales, and
• communication, including regular communication with complainants and clear rules regulating the use of informal methods of communication in the complaints process.
• Make sure that it has a system and culture that encourages members to challenge inappropriate behaviour and to report antisemitism complaints.
Page 100 of the report makes clear why this is ordered:
Our analysis also uncovered serious failings in complaint handling. We found that the Labour Party’s response to antisemitism complaints has been inconsistent, poor and not transparent, in terms of the process used, reasons for decisions, record-keeping, delay and failures to communicate with complainants. Some complaints were unjustifiably not investigated at all.
Labour has failed to correspond at all concerning the complaint apart from an initial auto-acknowledgment of its receipt, let alone provide any progress or outcome updates.
Reader may conclude that this was always going to be the case for a complaint against the party leader – but the EHRC report’s recommendations apply to any complaint, without differentiation – and the party’s critics certainly did not feel that Labour should fail to investigate complaints against Jeremy Corbyn when he was leader.
Has the complaint been politically blocked? The absence of any response or update on the status of the complaint suggests so. But even if it has not, Starmer’s Labour has again failed to live up to its leader’s commitment to accept and implement the EHRC report in full.
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