Several Labour party members accused of anti-semitism have been handed reprieves by the party’s Disputes Panel yesterday following intense lobbying by Momentum founder Jon Lansman – who won election to the NEC on Monday.
The panel voted on Tuesday afternoon to reject advice from party staff to refer at least two cases to the National Constitutional Committee (NCC), which makes final rulings on disciplinary matters. Dozens of other cases were referred to the NCC. One of the members who was cleared on Tuesday – Michael Sivier – retweeted a blog he’d written attacking the former chair of the panel, Ann Black, seconds after the decision was reached.
It is understood that members of the panel expressed concerns about fellow members using their position to promote the causes of those they know personally. Lansman is believed to have lobbied on behalf of Sivier and others in the past.
Although it is not unprecendented for the Disputes Panel to reject the advice of party officals, it rarely does so. The decision is likely to prove controversial because, as Lansman has himself conceded, the Labour party has been battling anti-semitism within its membership for several years.
Black – a long-serving NEC member who stood on a pro-Corbyn ticket when she last ran for election as part of the Centre Left Grassroots Alliance slate – was removed as chair of the panel earlier on Tuesday and replaced by Christine Shawcroft, a senior Momentum official.