Analysis comment

Exclusive: emails prove Starmer’s double standards against left – as complaints of ‘abhorrent’ antisemitism by staff member against centrist front-bencher ignored

‘Smoking gun’ complaints include one revolving around the same article that saw Long-Bailey sacked – yet shadow minister is still in post and complainant – a Labour staff member – has accused leadership of ignoring serious allegations

Keir Starmer’s political use of antisemitism to target the Labour party’s left has been exposed by leaked emails that show he and the party bureaucracy ignored complaints of ‘persistent’ and ‘abhorrent’ antisemitism against a centrist front-bencher – including a complaint involving the sharing of the same article that Starmer used as a pretext for sacking left-winger Rebecca Long-Bailey.

Emails sent to Starmer and acting general secretary David Evans by a Jewish member of Labour’s parliamentary staff have not only seen no action taken against Shadow defence minister Khalid Mahmood, but have not even received a response from either man.

Khalid Mahmood MP

In an email sent to Keir Starmer almost a month ago, Khalid Mahmood’s staff member Elaina Cohen lays out her complaint against her employer, who she says has suspended her ‘pre-emptively’ – and links part of her complaint to the same article that Rebecca Long-Bailey was sacked from her role as Shadow Education Secretary for tweeting. But she also alleges ‘continuing antisemitism and bullying’:

Another staff member employed by Mahmood had shared the article for which Long-Bailey was sacked – and in spite of Cohen’s complaint Mahmood had allegedly dismissed the matter as unimportant. Whatever one’s opinion of the article and its content, if Keir Starmer chooses to categorise it as antisemitic when tweeted by Long-Bailey, it must be treated the same for any front-bencher.

Yet Khalid Mahmood remains in position.

Other emails confirm that the complaint goes back months, to not long after Long-Bailey was sacked in late June – and referenced another post the complainant considered antisemitic:

The initial complaint was followed up by Ms Cohen on a number of occasions, including a chaser email to David Evans in early November, in which she reminded him that she had requested intervention several times and continued to feel victimised and abused:

In spite of this and a notification to the party from Elaina Cohen that felt she was ‘being harassed and bullied despite going through a family health crisis’, Khalid Mahmood remains in post.

The SKWAWKBOX contacted Mr Mahmood to ask for comment on Cohen’s allegations:

Mr Mahmood,

I have received evidence that one of your staff members has made complaints to Keir Starmer and David Evans of persistent and ‘abhorrent’ antisemitism against you, including a complaint to West Midlands police. One of these complaints related to posts by another staff member, ___________, of the Maxine Peake article for which Keir Starmer sacked Rebecca Long-Bailey. You took no action on those posts for months (though they were finally deleted this week after Labour published its EHRC plan).

Please provide your response by return on the following, as an article on it will be published on Sunday evening:

1. why did you fail to take any action over Ms _________’s social media, particularly when Long-Bailey was sacked for posting the same?
2. why did you take no action on your staff member’s complaints, except apparently to cast yourself as the victim and continue the ‘abhorrent behaviour’?
3. is your position on Labour’s front bench tenable given these complaints and your months-long inaction and Starmer’s sacking of Long-Bailey?
4why have you continued to behave in this manner to a staff member even though you must be aware that she is facing a family health crisis?

The MP responded swiftly, claiming that he could not comment until an ‘HR’ investigation is completed – :

Many thanks for your enquiry.

The questions you have raised are currently under investigation in conjunction with HR. Therefore I am unable to comment until the investigation has come to an end.

The SKWAWKBOX asked Keir Starmer:

I have received evidence that you and David Evans were informed of complaints of persistent and ‘abhorrent’ antisemitism against Khalid Mahmood by a member of his staff, including a complaint to West Midlands police. One of these complaints related to posts by another staff member of the Maxine Peake article for which you sacked Rebecca Long-Bailey. Mr Mahmood took no action on those posts for months (though they were finally deleted this week after Labour published its EHRC plan). Neither you nor Mr Evans appear to have ever responded to the complaint.
Please provide your response by return on the following and no later than 5pm tomorrow, as an article on it will be published on Sunday evening:

1. why did you sack Long-Bailey, after she made a statement agreed with you about her tweet, but took no action against Mahmood in relation to the same article even though he did nothing in response to the complaint?
2. how is your ‘blatant inaction‘ (the complainant’s words) against Mahmood compatible with your promise of ‘zero tolerance’?
3. why didn’t you/David Evans respond to the complainant – a parliamentary staff member – particularly when she has made you aware that she is in the middle of a ‘family health crisis’?

I’ve also learned that you were warned in a 25 Nov email about the “continuing antisemitism and bullying in your shadow cabinet” in relation to this situation, so you’ve been directly informed about the allegations against Khalid Mahmood since at least then, as well as being copied into earlier emails.

The email specifically asked you why you were pushing Jeremy Corbyn for an apology while ignoring the Mahmood situation and “why a different rule is applied to Jeremy Corbyn [and] Rebecca Long Bailey but not to Khalid? Do my feelings as his Jewish member of staff and Labour member not matter?

 This was significantly after the release of the EHRC report and your commitment to implement it in full. as well as months after your sacking of Ms Long-Bailey over the article the Jewish staff member referred to.

Why have you applied a double standard and isn’t this the very definition of ‘political interference’ when you apply double standards to different people over the same issue?

Eight hours after the publication deadline, no response has been received.

‘Blatant inaction’

The complaints against Khalid Mahmood have not been proven or, apparently, even investigated yet. Regardless of the outcome, the expected procedure would be an administrative suspension while an investigation into the allegations is carried out, particularly where they involve abuse and bullying, to protect staff including the complainant. No such suspension has been imposed, nor does any other action appear to have been taken.

Opinions about whether the article that forms part of the basis for the complaint did contain antisemitic content are not relevant to the conclusion that, having decided to sack Rebecca Long-Bailey on the basis that it did, Keir Starmer is obliged to treat other MPs consistently with that decision.

Yet he has not treated Khalid Mahmood as he acted toward Rebecca Long-Bailey. Where Long-Bailey was summarily sacked from the front bench in spite of publishing a clarification that she had agreed with the party leader, Khalid Mahmood remains on the front bench – even though the allegations are far more serious and prolonged.

And whatever has been going on behind the scenes, the EHRC report – which Starmer and David Evans have said they will implement in full – was heavily critical of the lack of communication with complainants and of delays in dealing with complaints:

The EHRC’s recommendations demand “regular communication with complainants”.

It is hard to imagine any circumstances in which the handling of Ms Cohen’s complaint complies with this requirement, let alone the duty to take complaints seriously and investigate them properly.

SKWAWKBOX view:

The EHRC report bans ‘political interference’ in disciplinary matters. Yet in the case of Rebecca Long-Bailey she was summarily sacked for sharing a single article, despite agreeing a clarifying statement with Keir Starmer and publishing it promptly on her social media.

But months after a complaint was made against Khalid Mahmood in relation to the same article and more, he continues in his post, while the requirement to communicate clearly and regularly with complainants appears to have been entirely disregarded. And this situation is not a one-off.

Starmer decided to take no action in the cases of Steve Reed, who made antisemitic comments while praising Starmer’s action against Long-Bailey. He took no action against Barry Sheerman, who posted tweets linking Jewish figures with Israeli money. He took no action against Rachel Reeves, who called for a statue to be built of a notorious antisemite – and refused even to allow Labour’s National Executive to discuss it; and he has taken no action against deputy leader Angela Rayner, who is the subject of antisemitism complaint.

The case involving Elaina Cohen and Khalid Mahmood appears to be the ‘smoking gun’ that proves what left members of the Labour party – and its many critics who have resigned in disgust over Starmer’s actions – have argued since Keir Starmer took over as leader.

That he is exploiting antisemitism as a political tool to attack and drive out the left – while ignoring worse conduct, or allegations of it, on the part of his allies on the right of the party.

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46 comments

  1. RLB was sacked for prevaricating about taking her tweet down when instructed to do so by her boss.

    1. Nah, SteveH, she was sacked because despite declaring her allegiance to Zionism, even though she didn’t, until it was explained to her, know what Zionism was, it was deemed by Starmer that by his standards she wasn’t quite Zionist enough!

      Are you Zionist enough SteveH?

    2. So she didn’t change her opinion quick enough, in the Boss’s view. So he sacked her.
      And this is the Labour Party?
      It is as well to remember that the ‘opinion’ in question was actually a fact: that the Minneapolis Police Department had been instructed in the brutal riot control techniques that the IDF had employed in the intifada. And that this fact was publicly shared by one of RLB’s constituents. And that RLB was sacked for not dissociating herself from her constituent’s account, quickly enough.
      This entire question, rooted in the pernicious habit of reading members’ correspondence, goes far beyond the authoritarian nightmares to be found in Orwell or Kafka.
      Starmer’s behaviour is disgraceful, unworthy of anyone in public life. Evans is on a par with his profession of recent years.

      1. RLB agreed a statement with her boss and was also told to take her tweet down. She didn’t take it down so she was sacked. Where’s the problem.
        Who the party leader has on his front bench is entirely up to him it has nothing to do with party discipline which is an entirety different matter.

      1. baz – Does making stuff up to fit your agenda make you feel better.

  2. Trust Starmer’s chief apologist here to jump in with a swift attempt to muddy the water. Contemptable rat.

    1. Just ignore him John and he’ll either just argue with himself or (better still) just fuck off.

      1. I haven’t spoken directly to the wretch in a long time, and very rarely speak about him. I must admit I ignored my own previous advice when I made reference to the creature.

      2. Of course if he or his type had control of this site, we would have been banned long ago.

      3. Richard

        Unfortunately, narcissistic sociopaths rarely “just fuck off”!

      1. SteveH, sometimes what you call “truth” I call your delusions and for the record this is my professional opinion.

  3. Maxine Peake’s tweet was factual – even had her assertion been false it still wouldn’t necessarily have been antisemitic, just untrue – therefore a simple sharing of it (I didn’t see LB’s post) wasn’t antisemitic either.
    Lies about Jews or Israel may be antisemitic or may not.
    What IS DEFINITELY antisemitic is weaponising accusations of antisemitism for political purposes – not least because it puts Jews at greater risk of repercussions from genuinely, rabidly antisemitic fuckwits on the right.
    It also regurgitates all the old slurs about Jews secretly manipulating the world from the shadows.

    Giving those who weaponise antisemitism a taste of their own medicine must be satisfying – and might even be effective – but doesn’t it leave anyone else with a bad taste in the mouth?

    1. In fact , McNiven, EVERY aspect of Maxine Peake’s claim that the Minnesota Police were taught the ‘leg on neck’ restraint method by ‘the Israeli Secret Service ‘ (sic) , turned out to be entirely untrue. The extremely dangerous ‘leg on neck’ restraint method is a notorious (often officially forbidden) technique across numerous police forces worldwide – and has been for GENERATIONS . The Minnesota police have had the dangerous technique in their police training handbook since at least 2010, long before any possible ‘Israeli training seminar’. Channel 4 factcheck long ago debunked Maxine Peake’s claim : https://www.channel4.com/news/factcheck/factcheck-did-israeli-secret-service-teach-floyd-police-to-kneel-on-neck

      So what Peake was casually doing was to attach a completely irrelevant, factually bogus, anti Israeli angle , to a story that was actually all about brutality in an American racist police force against yet another Black man. This is an example of the over-casual attitude of too many on the Left to facts – when simply adopting bogus assertions will deliver a cheap shot at Israel. There is plenty to criticise the Israeli state and security forces for that is TRUE, but to simply spew out any old anecdotal fairy tale – about supposed Israeli responsibility for unrelated bad things happening in the world, is an example of that peculiar form of anti-Semitism that bedevils the Left . It feeds into that age-old anti-Semitic meme that, “when anything bad happens , anywhere, you can be sure Israel (ie the Jews) are behind it”.

      The Right undoubtedly ‘weaponised anti-Semitism’ to help destroy Corbyn, and ‘Corbynism’ , but, sadly that peculiar form of Left anti-Semitism , originating in a totally legitimate solidarity with the Palestinians, but also polluted with innumerable ancient anti-Semitic memes and tropes, is a very real toxic problem on the Left , and gave the Right their opportunity for mischief. Various forms of anti-Semitism have always dogged the Left, as ‘The socialism of fools’, ever since socialism has existed as a philosophy, and was certainly recognised as a problem on the Left (long before Israel ever existed) , at the end of the 19th century. Marx himself, despite his Jewish heritage, made some very dodgy statements , equating ‘the Jewish spirit ‘ intimately with capitalism ! As evidenced by this , much-quoted, very ambiguous section from Marx’s ‘On the Jewish Question’ :

      “Let us consider the actual, worldly Jew – not the Sabbath Jew, as Bauer does, but the everyday Jew. Let us not look for the secret of the Jew in his religion, but let us look for the secret of his religion in the real Jew. What is the secular basis of Judaism? Practical need, self-interest. What is the worldly religion of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his worldly God? Money. Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist. Money degrades all the gods of man – and turns them into commodities…. The bill of exchange is the real god of the Jew. His god is only an illusory bill of exchange…. The chimerical nationality of the Jew is the nationality of the merchant, of the man of money in general.[…] The Jew has emancipated himself in a Jewish manner, not only because he has acquired financial power, but also because, through him and also apart from him, money has become a world power and the practical Jewish spirit has become the practical spirit of the Christian nations. The Jews have emancipated themselves insofar as the Christians have become Jews. […] In the final analysis, the emancipation of the Jews is the emancipation of mankind from Judaism.”

      Chilling stuff – in isolation it reads like something snipped from ‘Der Sturmer’ , or the workerist ‘Left Wing’ of Nazism , ie, Strasserism. ! And would rightly get any Labour Party member expelled if they stated it as their view today – if taken in isolation from the much more overall sophisticated argument put forward by Marx in his famous, or infamous, article.

      1. There was clearly a wide international neoliberal interest in denying that Israel was involved, as there was in denying it’s involved itself in UK politics – Channel 4 reported what it was told to report.
        I saw photos and read different accounts in various places which I seriously can’t be arsed re-researching – I do remember that the ‘trainer’ was named, was a private contactor, was ex-Israeli forces (whether IDF or special forces I don’t recall), that he was merely hosted by his consulate, as many consulates host their own nationals’ export efforts abroad.
        Neck restraint is ancient – what was alleged wasn’t that leg-on-neck restraint was invented by Israel or “the Jews” – merely that the specific, refined technique used to excess to murder George Floyd was learned from that single Israeli ex-forces contractor.
        If you trust Channel 4 that’s up to you – I don’t place that much trust in any one source, and I apply logic to everything I read.
        Maxine Peake didn’t repeat Marx’s slurs as far as I’m aware, so I wonder why you did? And what relevant point you think you made?
        A set of falsehoods that were “common knowledge” before WWII – just as ongoing Christian, Muslim & growing worldwide antisemitic oppression of Jews and Israel is “common knowledge” in certain quarters today.
        By sheer coincidence it’s also “common knowledge” that a third of Labour members are racist antisemites.

      2. jpenney – “but to simply spew out any old anecdotal fairy tale – about supposed Israeli responsibility for unrelated bad things happening in the world, is an example of that peculiar form of anti-Semitism that bedevils the Left”

        Absolutely NOT. Criticism of Israel whether misplaced or not is NOT antisemitism. You jpenney with no sense of self awareness have yet again weaponised antiSemitism to conflate criticism of Isreal, whether right or wrong, with an attack on Jews. To justify your conflation you call it a ‘PECULIAR form of anti-Semitism’. A/S is A/S which as Socialsts we all should deplore, there is no ‘pecular’ form or grade of antiSemitism.

        Israel is a racist State as defined in their Nation State Law, therefore it is no wonder that it attracts criticism from anti-racists who compare Israel’s actions against Palestinians to other violence committed by racist entities around the world.

      3. Aaaahahaha! Channel 4 news fact-check? Seriously? Your credibility just hit rock bottom, moron!

        And please do something about your verbal diarrhoea. 🐂💩

  4. So there you have the trial of truth folks , the evidence and facts of Sir Keiths hypocrisy and his untrustworthy character, as if any more evidence is needed as to his nature .
    Some may be very content and happy to accept this sort of person as a Leader , more incisive ,intelligent , honest and principled people are not .His dishonesty was apparent to many who had the skills and ability to make the right judgement and hence did not vote for him , although a simple quick glance through his voting record and his actions as DPP would have given even the dimmest just a inkling as to Starmers character . One can only surmise that those voting for him did so in the full knowledge as to what they were getting and hence agree with all the dishonesty , disingenuous , divisive , destructive actions Sir Keith has committed .
    Thankfully this will not win him any elections

    1. How many of us voted for Tom Watson or Angela salt of the earth Rayner
      Biggest change next time needs to be power to sack them 9n the spot as soon as the mask comes off
      ‘Pantomime Dame ‘ powers

    2. Rob, I agree with most of what you say. However, I disagree with “One can only surmise that those voting for him dis so in the full knowledge” I believe many voted for him because in my honest opinion it wasn’t much to chose from. Lisa Nandy wouldn’t have been better and Rebecca Long-Bailey wasn’t ready for leadership.
      RLB accepting the 10 pledges of the BoD lost her votes among the left. Simply put many Corbyn’s supporters couldn’t bring themselves to vote for her. It was as clear as daylight that the MSM and the right of the LP were never going to accept her leadership and she didn’t have the spine to get on top of it.
      I didn’t vote for Starmer, like you I could see his true colours, but I can still see why many Corbyn’s supporters were persuaded by his suave performance ” Jeremy is my friend” “I will keep the pledges of the 2017 manifesto” ” I will unite the Party”
      I believe many that voted for Starmer as leader, wanted to believe that he was going to unite the Party that he represented the best chance of Corbynism after Corbyn. You only have to look at the fact that some of the CLP’s passing critical motions against Starmer and Evans and motions in support of Corbyn endorsed Starmer as leader. Many were duped by Starmer but they are starting to realise it.

      1. Surely the most damning aspect of the leadership contest is why members only had racists to choose from?

      2. And so the fact he had a title was a lawyer,and was educated at the Reigate independent grammar school and lived in OXted Surrey.Was a known faciliator for bent cops and was the man to go to for a fix.didnt give anyone in the membership a clue as to what they were voting for.?I voted for the best of a bad bunch in the feeble double barrel bailey and the other lawyer Burgon..I think that the vote says more about the membership than the dogs dinner that the PLP allowed us to vote for.And with that in mind I walked away from the Labour party.and I am sure it was the only decission to be made.

  5. It seems Starmer and Evans only follow out suspensions of alleged antisemitism against members when the complaint comes from others.
    As proved here any other complaint against one of his supporters is ignored because the two scoundrels are too busy punishing other members who try to exercise their freedom of expression.
    Still finding it interesting to see what happens when the six months deadline is upon us of the infamous list of the MPs and members given to Starmer by the CAA calling for suspensions.
    Rayner and Reed fate will rely on if they’ve done enough to satisfy the leader and the CAA. Which obviously the likes of Burgon will have not

  6. And complaints against Rachel Reeves should equally be investigated.

  7. The inconvenient truth is that evidence has long been presented of the former Shadow Education Secretary and the MP for Islington North having submitted the statements they have been disciplined for* to the LOTO who passed them for release only to subsequently change his mind after the event.

    In which case the LOTO is equally guilty of the “offences” for which he is punishing everyone else.*

    Consequently, it’s not too much to ask of those such as SteveH to at least make some attempt to keep up with the reality of current events if they wish to be taken seriously rather than regarded as a bad faith actor.

    * That current reality is the blatant application of double standards in applying the rules and procedures in which there exists more hard evidence than you could shake a stick at. Examples include the discussion and leaking of individual discipline cases, including members as well as MP’s, which is at odds with what we are now informed represents an “instruction” rather than “guidance” from the A/GS; and the gerrymandering of the rules and procedures for factional and bureaucratic convenience.

    Of course, if people wish to publicly state their support for such hypocrisy and the refutation of due process as is consistently the case here the least regular readers could do is mount an emergency crowdfunder to get those who desperately need, and deserve, it the Official Court Jesters outfit for this coming Friday.

    After all, given the prodigious and impressive output of bovine effluence those who like to wear that particular cap have certainly earned it.

  8. Look lets face it , this is eff all to do with anything other than securing the Labour Party for the State Of Israel and its Zionist expansion aims .It is to ensure that there is NEVER AGAIN any threat whatsoever to the Govt of Israel and no viable support for Palestine , its crystal claver I am sure to all on here commenting and all the actions driven by Starmer and Evans are to achieving that end .

    1. I fear Starmer becoming Prime Minister. This cancer will pervade not only shows public support for the Palestinians, but trade union activists etc who coulds easily be bought down by false anti semitism complaints, curbing the fight gainst austerity (some of this is already happening) . I think it would be the most authoritarian government in my lifetime (I’m retired) with the prospect of legislation to enforce IHRA definition of anti semitism and more. He would deffinitely make Borris seem like a ‘libertarian’ softy.

      1. Starmer has certany gone out of his way to signal his ‘electability’ to the ruling class at a time of great turmoil when their faith in Boris is showing signs of . Corbyn, as we know, was declared ‘unelectable’. They decide who is electable.

      2. The ruling class support for Boris showing signs os waning,
        Re -My post – Carlene Edmonds21/12/2020 AT 1:48 PM

  9. Starmer’s speechifying live on BBC News 24 right now.
    He’s easily the least inspiring, most wooden Labour leader ever – even if you count Miliband.
    They’re cutting him off after about two or three minutes, thank fuck.
    Jeezus, he must have been a useless advocate – worst barrister anyone could ever choose.

      1. I think you know were you can stick his speech moron..!You are really just a lacky nowadays..Do you curtsy when taking the money?

      2. Them’s all clicks on Starmer’s speech, them is…

      3. Why do you keep posting inks to Von Sturmer’s speeches? Do you rub you hands and go misty eyed when you watch him.

        Good grief man get a grip.

      4. baz – I post the links so that people can inform themselves and make their own minds up instead of relying on the rhetoric and opinions of others.

  10. Christ 15 seconds of his woodentop speech was my max endurance … off button duly pressed !

  11. AS usual double standards anti-semitic can only happen if your socialist according to the cult of new Labour 2.0?

    So we will ignore any complaints about our cult members and if they do or say something well it’s unimportant dispite using that exact thing to sack another!

    That’s what happens when you ignore the rules you make yourself and your cult look stupid..

  12. Seen comments in newspapers from ordinary folk saying “Vote Labour, put Israel first” or “Starmer’s patriotism means putting Israel interests first” Doesn’t look so far-fetched now. some people may be wising up though too many members still exhibit the battered but still loyal spouse syndrome.

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