Britain’s equalities watchdog is set to launch a full investigation into the Labour Party over its failure to root out anti-Semitism, the Sunday Times said in an exclusive report over the weekend. Since its inception 12 years ago, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has investigated only one political party over unlawful discrimination – the British National Party, or Nazi party.
The independent watchdog was founded by a Labour government in 2006. The party’s current leader, Jeremy Corbyn, has been dogged by criticism about his handling of anti-Semitism claims since taking office in 2015.
The EHRC board is set to meet in May to decide the full scope of the investigation, the Sunday Times said, but sources familiar with the process told the paper that the evidence they have received “meets the legal threshold for a statutory investigation,” including access to emails and other internal records.
The independent watchdog began pre-enforcement proceedings against Labour last month after legal complaints were made last year by the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) and the Jewish Labour Movement.
Gideon Falter, chairman of CAA, said the organization had “full confidence” in the EHRC “to investigate thoroughly and deliver justice.
“The Jewish community has gone to every conceivable length to persuade Jeremy Corbyn, Jennie Formby and Labour’s National Executive Committee to act, but we have been persistently rebuffed,” he observed.
“We had no option but to seek an external, impartial investigation, and that is why we asked the Equality and Human Rights Commission to investigate illegal antisemitic discrimination and victimisation.”
In a tape leaked to the Sunday Times last week, Corbyn admitted that evidence of Jew-hate in the party has been “mislaid or ignored.” A Labour spokesperson rejected suggestions that the party has acted unlawfully and said the tape “shows Jeremy Corbyn’s desire to make procedures as robust and efficient as possible and to rebuild trust with the Jewish community.”
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