Antisemitism inquiry is 'the Labour party looking at itself in the mirror', says chair Shami Chakrabarti


Shami Chakrabarti, chair of the Labour party’s inquiry into antisemitism, has described the investigation as “the Labour party, looking at itself in the mirror”.

Ms Chakrabarti, a lawyer and the former director of human rights group Liberty, also said she decided to join Labour because she did not want to be accused of being “out to make trouble”.

She made the comments during an interview on Salford City Radio’s Jewish Hour programme on Monday.

Defending her decision to join the party on the day she was appointed to head the inquiry, Ms Chakrabarti told presenter Jeff Lewis: “This is the Labour party, looking at itself in the mirror. Hopefully it is going to be a Labour party that sets a bar for high standards of conduct and discourse, even around difficult issues.”

Recognising that she could be accused of political bias, she said her reasons for joining the party were two-fold.

“I do share the values that we uphold in the Labour party,” she explained, adding: “If I was going to consult within the party, and I was perhaps going say some difficult things to some members of the party, I didn’t want any suggestion that I was somehow a closet member of another political party, or out to make trouble.”

Ms Chakrabarti, who grew up in north London, continued: “[Labour members] need to know that this is in their own party’s best interests and they need to embrace it in the spirit in which it is being conducted.”

She will conduct the inquiry with vice-chairs Labour peer Baroness Royall and Professor David Feldman, director of the Pears Institute for the Study of Antisemitism. Questions have been raised over Prof Feldman’s involvement , after it was revealed that he was a signatory to Independent Jewish Voices, a group of Jewish academics who are critical of British Jewish communal bodies.

During the radio interview, Ms Chakrabarti explained that she had a “broad remit” to conduct the investigation.

She said: “There is a lot of room there to do whatever I think is constructive and necessary to ensure that everyone feels at home in this progressive party that puts equality and inclusion at the heart of its values.”

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