Labour NEC bans publication of Royall report into Oxford University Labour Club antisemitism


Oxford University Labour Club is not institutionally antisemitic, but faces “difficulties” which must be addressed, an investigation has found.

Baroness Royall said she was making 11 recommendations for “immediate and sustained action” to the club regarding the complaints made against it, and a further seven issues will be raised with the Labour Party’s inquiry into antisemitism.

Sources suggest that the peer's full report - which the party's NEC refused to allow to be published - shows many of the allegations against Labour supporting students relating to antisemitism and which led to the investigation did take place.

Her full findings may be revealed as part of the report which will follow the inquiry being led by Shami Chakrabarti.

Baroness Royall advised against life bans for members found to be guilty of antisemitism.

“I recognise that people may change their views and that where that is demonstrable a person may be allowed to seek NEC approval for any future application to join the Labour Party,” she added.

The report was presented to Labour’s National Executive Committee this afternoon and the committee accepted her points.
Ms Chakrabarti attended the NEC meeting.

Baroness Royall recommended that Ms Chakrabarti’s investigation should adopt the Macpherson definition of racism, which states that an incident should be investigated as antisemitic if it is perceived as such by the victim.

The party’s national complaints unit must be “properly resourced so that it may deal effectively with complaints of antisemitism”, the peer said.

She also suggested that the wider review of Jew-hate in the party should consider whether Labour should adopt a definition of antisemitic discourse.

On the allegations at Oxford, the peer said Labour students including club officers should undergo training with the Jewish Labour Movement in how to deal with antisemitism.

While not making clear whether the alleged antisemitic incidents actually took place, Baroness Royall said documented evidence of incidents should be investigated “in line with normal procedures”.

The culture of the club should be examined to ensure students can “debate with discrimination”, she added.

Another recommendation suggested the party and its NEC should provide “leadership and training in equalities issues including antisemitism” with assistance for figures across the party to have guidance to help them identify and deal with incidents.

Baroness Royall also suggested disciplinary procedures for those involved in antisemitic incidents should have no “statute of limitation”.

She said she would advise the Chakrabarti inquiry to consider suggesting the party adopt rule changes to “allow swifter action to deal with antisemitism”, including through greater powers for the NEC, or creating an independent panel.

She would also advise “more rigorous vetting procedures” for selecting local and national candidates.

There is also a recommendation for consultations with leader Jeremy Corbyn and deputy leader Tom Watson regarding online debate.

A Labour Party spokeswoman said: "Baroness Jan Royall presented her report to the NEC today. The NEC agreed and accepted the report. The recommendations have now been published."

Baroness Royall’s inquiry was set up after the co-chair of the student group quit in February and claimed colleagues “have some kind of problem with Jews”.

That sparked a series of allegations about incidents at OULC, including suggestions students discussed Zionists rigging British elections, frequently used the abusive term “Zio” and said European attacks on Jews were justified because of Gaza.

Jeremy Newmark, chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, said after the report's publication that he had met Baroness Royall and "I share her frustration that the full content of her report was suppressed by the NEC".

Labour MP John Mann, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, said: "For those who thought there wasn't an antisemitism issue in the Labour Party, this report shows there definitely is."

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