Jennie Formby, Labour’s new general secretary, has revealed her office has seconded a team of lawyers to start work “immediately” in an attempt to deal with the huge backlog of alleged antisemitism disciplinary cases within the party.
In her first speech to the Parliamentary Labour Party, Ms Formby also revealed Labour had advertised for “in-house general counsel, who will advise on disciplinary matters and improvements to our processes”.
In a further attempt to show that Labour is serious about tackling the issue of anti-Jewish conduct, she also revealed the party’s ruling body had staged its first working group meeting on the issue – and that Baroness Chakrabarti had accepted an invitation to join the NEC group.
“I will be recommending to the working group that we learn from the improved processes for dealing with sexual harassment cases,” wrote Ms Formby.
“Areas that should be considered include the option of establishing small panels to consider complaints, training on antisemitism for all NEC and NCC members, and measures to ensure confidentiality.”
In an email later sent to the PLP, Ms Formby said eradicating antisemitic attitudes within the party “will be a central priority in my role as general secretary”.
In another move she revealed the party would be beginning “specialist antisemitism training”.
Ms Formby wrote: “It is clear that training and education among our membership is needed to improve understanding about antisemitism.”
Last month reports said Labour had a backlog of 75 cases of antisemitism still to be dealt with – some of which dated back more than two years.
But the Labour MP John Mann said another 130 complaints of alleged antisemitism had also been submitted.
High-profile cases of alleged antisemitism still to be resolved include Jackie Walker and Marc Wadsworth – while Ken Livingstone has seen his suspension from the party extended over his claims about Adolf Hitler and Zionism.