Rayner says she will ‘suspend thousands and thousands’ to because ‘injury to one is injury to all’. She’ll have to start with herself

Labour deputy leader worries about ‘injury to one’ but prepared to risk harm to thousands – while breaching EHRC ban on ‘political interference’ – and one anti-Labour group has her near the top of its hit-list of accusations of antisemitism

Angela Rayner and Keir Starmer are attending a Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) and Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) gathering today – the UN’s Day of International Solidarity with Palestinian People, even though LFI in 2018 blamed Palestinian people for their own massacre by Israeli forces. The UN’s events to mark the Day of Solidarity take place on Tuesday this year, but the official Day – similar to the difference between the fixed Armistice Day and the flexible Remembrance Sunday – is today.

Rayner has added to the anger caused by this choice by reportedly telling the gathering that.

If I have to suspend thousands and thousands of [Labour] members, we will do that. Because we cannot and we will not accept an injury to one, because an injury to one is an injury to all.

Of course, the Labour party is well aware that suspension is itself an ‘injury’ – it ‘kindly’ tells suspended members to contact Samaritans or their GP to help cope with the trauma – but it seems that kind of ‘injury’ to one, even though suspension is not an indication of guilt and disciplinary processes have been linked to deaths, does not feature on Ms Rayner’s radar.

But Labour’s deputy leader needs to tread carefully – because if Labour actually implements Keir Starmer’s commitment to enact the whole of the recommendations of the EHRC report, then she will be one of the first of the ‘thousands and thousands’ suspended.

The controversial and widely-criticised Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) responded to the EHRC report, within hours of its publication, with a hit-list of Labour parliamentarians it wants suspended and investigated – and among the black women and Muslims, the organisation also has its sights on Ms Rayner, for the crime of sharing an article by respected Jewish, anti-Zionist academic Norman Finkelstein:

Keir Starmer has shown little sign, so far, of actually carrying out his promise whenever an aspect of the EHRC recommendations are inconvenient, such as not interfering with disciplinary outcomes, or respecting confidentiality to protect those targeted by complaints.

Rayner herself has done similarly – and in fact has no power to suspend anyone under Labour’s rules, so her comments today also appear to breach the ‘no political interference’ rule.

But CAA and other groups are very unlikely to accept anything less than wholesale compliance with their demands – and Rayner’s pledge to throw ‘thousands and thousands’ of other Labour members under the bus, in most cases for little more than supporting Jeremy Corbyn, should not mean that she is exempted.

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