Labour anti-semitism ‘im­pos­si­ble to stamp out’

The Daily Telegraph - - Front Page - By Harry Yorke PO­LIT­I­CAL COR­RE­SPON­DENT

ONE of Labour’s most se­nior fig­ures last night ad­mit­ted that it was “im­pos­si­ble” to stamp out anti-semitism in the party.

In com­ments that threat­ened to reignite the long-run­ning feud with the Jewish com­mu­nity, Jen­nie Formby, the Labour gen­eral sec­re­tary, re­port­edly told MPS that she would not bend to their de­mands af­ter they re­quested firmer ac­tion to tackle the is­sue.

Ac­cord­ing to in­sid­ers present at meet­ing of the par­lia­men­tary party last night, Ms Formby, a close ally of Jeremy Cor­byn, claimed that it was “im­pos­si­ble to erad­i­cate anti-semitism and it would be dis­hon­est to claim to be able to do so”. Af­ter MPS passed a mo­tion de­mand­ing to know how many com­plaints of anti-semitism lev­elled against mem­bers re­mained un­re­solved, she was said to have told those present that she only an­swered to Labour’s Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee.

Last night Dame Mar­garet Hodge, a prom­i­nent Jewish MP, de­scribed the re­sponse as “ab­surd”, and warned Labour would not “rid the can­cer of antisemiti­sm” un­less there was “com­plete trans­parency” over its dis­ci­plinary pro­ce­dures.

Her com­ments were echoed by Wes Street­ing, the Labour MP, who told The Daily Tele­graph: “Fail­ure to be trans­par­ent will not only fall short of the ex­pec­ta­tions we set of the Gov­ern­ment, it will fuel fur­ther dam­age and dis­trust, not just among Bri­tain’s Jews, but other de­cent-minded peo­ple who are hor­ri­fied at what has hap­pened in our party.”

It comes as The Daily Tele­graph to­day re­veals that 20 Labour ac­tivists in­ves­ti­gated over anti-semitism claims were al­lowed to re­main in or re­turn to the party over the past four months.

They in­clude com­plaints lodged against a prom­i­nent union leader and a uni­ver­sity aca­demic, whilst at least six mem­bers serv­ing lengthy sus­pen­sions have also been re­in­stated.

The most con­tro­ver­sial cases in­clude a Labour ac­tivist who shared an on­line image of a Job­cen­tre sign con­tain­ing the words “ar­beit macht frei”, a ref­er­ence to the Nazi slo­gan that still hangs from the gates of Auschwitz.

Mar­i­anne Tel­lier, the for­mer sec­re­tary of Labour’s Park and Ar­bourthorne branch, told sup­port­ers that her sus­pen­sion had been lifted, ad­ding that in her deal­ings with the party there was “no men­tion of anti-semitism”.

Oth­ers were let off with for­mal warn­ings af­ter di­rect­ing abuse at MPS who spoke out against anti-semitism. They in­clude Carolyn Mars­den, a so­cial me­dia ac­tivist, who branded MP John Mann a “Zion­ist apol­o­gist of the high­est or­der” and Tom Wat­son, Labour’s deputy leader, a “pig­face”.

A Labour spokesman said that the party “takes all com­plaints of anti-semitism ex­tremely se­ri­ously” and added: “All com­plaints about anti-semitism are fully in­ves­ti­gated in line with our rules and pro­ce­dures and any ap­pro­pri­ate dis­ci­plinary ac­tion is taken.”

‘Fail­ure to be trans­par­ent will ... fuel fur­ther dam­age and dis­trust, not just among ... Jews, but other de­cent minded peo­ple’

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