Evidence submitted to the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s investigation into the Labour Party shows that Jewish people are discriminated against at various levels of the party.
The submission includes claims that the party treats antisemitism complaints differently to complaints on other subject, Jews have been subjected to different membership requirements because of their background, and that Jeremy Corbyn’s office were involved in the suspension of Jewish MP Margaret Hodge.
The Jewish Labour Movement, the Labour Party’s Jewish affiliate, submitted the evidence as part of the ongoing investigation. It can be read in full below.
New evidence of antisemitism at local levels of the Labour Party includes the claim that a member blamed “the Jews” for the prostitution industry in Seven Sisters, North London. It is also claimed that a membership secretary for a local party branch blocked the applications of 25 people from the ultra-orthodox Jewish community, insisting that home visits were made first, something that is not standard practice for new membership applications.
At the top of the party, Jeremy Corbyn’s office is accused of interfering in the case of Jewish MP Margaret Hodge. His staff are accused of applying “acute pressure” to push for her suspension after she told Corbyn he was a “racist antisemite.” Her suspension was eventually made by General Secretary, Jennie Formby, after the member of staff usually responsible for sending suspension letters refused on the grounds that Hodge hadn’t breached any party rules.
On becoming General Secretary in 2018, Formby hired a new member of staff to an allegedly new, undefined role in the party’s Governance and Legal Unit. According to testimony, the role was as “a conduit to LOTO [the Leader of the Opposition’s Office]” allegedly instituted a “political sign-off” process which was only applied to antisemitism cases. Staff were told to email this new member of staff directly to avoid leaving a wider paper trail.
The submission also accuses the Labour leader of peddling untruths during the general election campaign. Corbyn told the ITV leaders debate that any member making antisemitic statements is either suspended or expelled, and “we have investigated every single case.” The submission details its claim that this is untrue.
The Jewish Labour Movement concludes that antisemitism is present in all parts of the Labour Party: from local meetings and online forums, to party conferences and its officials. They warn, “the Labour Party is not a safe space for Jewish people.”