BBC documentary exposes rampant Labour anti-Semitism

Clay Curtis
July 12, 2019

Panorama spoke to former party officials, who alleged they had to deal with a huge increase in antisemitism complaints since Jeremy Corbyn became Labour leader in 2015.

Labour Together will also be sending its demands to Jennie Formby, the Labour Party's general secretary, once local members have had an opportunity to sign up.

That former officials tasked with presiding over internal inquiries felt it necessary to break non-disclosure agreements to express their misgivings speaks volumes about the scale of the scandal - and why Mr Corbyn needs to take action now to help reassure all those who feel let down by his mealy-mouthed approach.

Last night Labour hit back, accusing the BBC of "deliberate and malicious representations created to mislead the public".

"They are not "disaffected", they have been incredibly fearless".

Labour, which has been braced for the Panorama accusations, wrote to BBC director-general Lord Hall to complain ahead of the broadcast. It showed the downplaying of serious allegations.

"The NCC [the National Constitutional Committee that looks after Labour disciplinary matters] can not be allowed to continue in the way that they are at the moment, and I will also be challenging the panel for the Jackie Walker case", wrote Formby.

"I can't walk by on the other side and let them shoulder responsibility for calling all this bad behaviour out".

He said Ms Formby had "insisted" members of the shadow cabinet should not have the right to see the EHRC submission, but added: "I disagree". "That's why we need a new independent complaints procedure to tackle the issue once and for all, and to win back trust".

"Thirdly - and this is a cultural and attitude issue - now the Equality and Human Rights Commission is looking at the Labour Party, we should throw open the books and say "you've got access to anything, you have got access to any member of staff, we have made some process changes which have improved things but we have still got a problem, help us through this".

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The EHRC launched a formal investigation in May into whether Labour had "unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised people because they are Jewish". There were crucial flaws with the programme that should not be ignored, but neither can we dismiss wholesale numerous allegations made or the testimony of members and ex-staff members.

Rider's comments were among the more inflammatory responses on a day that saw Corbyn's allies continue to deny that Labour has a problem with antisemitism.

Labour peer Lord Levy said the Jewish community were today in shock, disbelief and fear at the programme's revelations.

She added that he was "very wrong to imply that she is dealing with this matter with anything less than her usual professionalism".

Nick Lowles, chief executive of the Hope Not Hate campaign group, said the BBC documentary showed interference by Labour officials in anti-Semitism investigations.

"Despite claims made in the programme, Labour is taking decisive action against anti-Semitism".

The Labour Party said in a statement: "The Leader's Office did not intervene".

But shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, a close ally of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, tweeted that Mr Watson knew "perfectly well that he can not make "demands" of Jennie Formby".

"This throws into doubt their credibility as sources".

John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, has called on the BBC to carry out an investigation into complaints made by Labour about the Panorama report into antisemitism in the party.

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