Labour publishes action plan 'for driving out antisemitism from the party'

The proposals are made public by the party after being approved by the EHRC equalities watchdog


Labour has pledged to “change the way complaints of antisemitism and all other forms of racism” are handled by the party in an action plan now approved by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) following the publication of  its damning report into the party.

The ‘Action Plan for Driving out Antisemitism from the Labour Party’,  made public on Thursday, also revealed that an advisory board composed of members from the Jewish community would be set up to restore confidence in the party’s complaints process procedures as well as to act “as a sounding board and critical friend.”

Jewish stakeholders would also be consulted over the development of an education and training programme on antisemitism, it was confirmed.

Sir Keir Starmer and deputy leader Angela Rayner also confirmed that neither themselves or anyone from their offices would have any involvement in deciding the outcome of cases  to ensure there was “no inappropriate political input into decisions”.

The proposals also said Labour would “employ external lawyers to advise antisemitism panel hearings.”

The party also vowed to address the continued backlog of complaints relating to antisemitism.

In another pledge they vowed to strengthen social media guidelines and due-diligence checks for prospective Labour candidates.

Accepting that the EHRC report into the way antisemitism had been handled by the party was “incredibly difficult reading for everyone who loves our party and wants it to be a force  for good”, Sir Keir and Ms Rayner added in a joint statement: “The Action Plan for Driving out Antisemitism from the Labour Party published today sets out concrete steps and a timetable to do this.

“First, we will change the way complaints of antisemitism and all other forms of racism are handled.

“We will be establishing an independent process to investigate complaints of antisemitism, Islamophobia, racism, sexual harassment and any discrimination based on protected characteristics.

“To ensure there is no inappropriate political input into decisions neither the Leader, the Deputy Leader nor our offices will have any involvement in deciding the outcome of  individual complaint cases, and we will employ external lawyers to advise antisemitism panel hearings. We will also address the backlog of antisemitism cases.

“We will not hesitate to sanction those who breach our rules and regulations.

“Social media guidelines will be strengthened and candidates wishing to represent the party will undergo greater due diligence checks.

“Second, we commit to greater transparency in our complaints processes to increase trust and confidence in our procedures.

“To implement this action plan effectively we will set up an advisory board composed of members from the Jewish community and a reference group to act as a sounding board and critical friend.  

“This action plan will help us act decisively against antisemitism in all its forms.  It will hold us to the highest standard and ensure we neither miss incidences nor accept denial or excuses.  

“Restoring trust with the Jewish community and changing our party’s culture will take time and hard work, but we will do it.”

The EHRC had given Labour a December 10 deadline to submit its action plan following the publication of their report in October.  The watchdog have since given the plan their approval leading to the decision by the party to now publish it in full.

“As a party, we know we have a mountain to climb. But our determination is undimmed – and our commitment to getting it right is absolute,” added Sir Keir and Ms Rayner. “ We will only consider this work a success when members who left our party because of antisemitism feel safe to return.”

It was confirmed that the EHRC would monitor the action plan for a two year long period. Labour will make monthly returns for the first six months to the EHRC to report progress and thereafter  will report quarterly to the watchdog.

The Jewish Leadership Council and Jewish Labour Movement issued statements welcoming the publication of the action plan.

Claudia Mendoza, the JLC's joint CEO said the plan was an "encouraging step" but she said her organisation would "continue to hold the party to its word" while working "constructively with the new leadership."

The JLM added that "solving" the "toxic culture" which continues to exist in the party was as important as establishing an independent process.

The Board of Deputies said:"We and other Jewish communal organisations will be closely monitoring the situation to ensure that Labour follows through on the changes it has pledged to make."

The EHRC welcomed Labour’s report. Alastair Pringle, its executive director, said: “The Labour party has produced a comprehensive action plan that meets the recommendations made in our investigation report. It will take time to rebuild the trust of the membership and the public. This is an important step in the right direction.

We are satisfied these changes are realistic and achievable and we will continue to monitor and work with the Labour party so this plan is adhered to.”

The full action plan was published on Labour’s website on Thursday.

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