Keir Starmer has ordered a review into a leaked internal report of the party’s handing of anti-Semitism claims.
Under mounting pressure to act, Starmer said that an independent investigation would examine the leaking of the 860-page document, as well as its contents including the “wider culture and practices” it refers to and the “background and circumstances in which the report was commissioned and the process involved”.
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The dossier, which includes 10,000 separate emails and thousands of private WhatsApp communications, is a draft drawn up to help inform the party’s responses to an investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
It concluded that “factional hostility” to Starmer’s predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn, hampered efforts to deal with allegations of antisemitism in the Labour party.
The report says there was an “abundant evidence of a hyper-factional atmosphere prevailing in party HQ… which appears to have affected the expeditious and resolute handling of disciplinary complaints”.
It claimed to have found “no evidence” of anti-Semitism complaints being treated differently to other forms of complaint, or of current or former staff being “motivated by anti-Semitic intent”.
However, writes the BBC’s political correspondent Helen Catt, another claim in the report makes the matter even more explosive.
At the 2017 general election, the report says, “some key staff even appeared to work against the party's core objective of winning elections”.
“It’s the allegation that Labour staff worked against a win for Mr Corbyn in the 2017 election that is likely to be most incendiary, if proven,” says Catt.
Richard Burgon, who was shadow justice secretary under Corbyn, said the revelations had prompted many party members to consider leaving.
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