Jennie Formby and Skwawkbox have been caught publishing incorrect claims about Labour MPs who spoke out against the Party’s new definition of antisemitism.
While Westminster’s attention was on the seemingly imminent collapse of the Conservative Government, Labour’s General Secretary wrote to the Parliamentary Labour Party last night to defend the party’s new definition of antisemitism. The definition has caused controversy for dropping four of the examples used by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.
In her letter, Formby named Anna Turley and Keir Starmer as members of the Home Affairs Select Committee “during the relevant period” of its report into antisemitism in 2016, and Chuka Umunna an author of the report. She then claims that the Party’s new definition is drawn from the committee’s report.
By 12.30 the same evening, the alt-left website, Skwawkbox, had published an article suggesting that Turley, Starmer, and Chuka Umunna’s criticism of Labour’s refusal to adopt the IHRA definition in full was hypocritical. The article claimed that the MPs “contributed to a report published just two years ago that raised exactly the concerns about the IHRA examples that Labour’s new code of conduct addresses and clarifies without diluting.”
In fact, Anna Turley and Keir Starmer ceased to be members of the committee in October 2015, six months before the inquiry into antisemitism began and a year before the report was published. Chuka Umunna was a member of the committee at the time of the inquiry. However, the report never recommended that any of the IHRA examples ought to be removed.
This isn’t the first time the alt-left site has been caught spreading fake news- in November 2017, the press regulator IPSO found that the site had “endorsed the credibility” of false claims that there was a cover-up of the true death toll from the Grenfell Tower fire. It has been reported that Skwawkbox is briefed stories by “senior Corbynite figures.”
Turley has written to Jennie Formby to complain about the inaccuracy of her letter, and calling on her to adopt the IHRA definition in full. The full letter is below: