Three Labour peers re­sign whip ahead of anti-semitism ex­pose

The Daily Telegraph - - Front page - By Harry Yorke

THREE of Labour’s most high-pro­file peers have quit 24 hours be­fore the air­ing of a doc­u­men­tary lifting the lid on the party’s han­dling of anti-semitism.

Lord Triesman, Labour’s for­mer gen­eral sec­re­tary, yes­ter­day re­signed the party whip and ac­cused Jeremy Cor­byn of pre­sid­ing over a party that was no longer a “safe en­vi­ron­ment” for Jewish peo­ple and “very plainly in­sti­tu­tion­ally anti-semitic”. He was joined by Lord Darzi, a for­mer health min­is­ter, and Lord Turn­berg, a for­mer Royal Col­lege of Physi­cians pres­i­dent, who warned that anti-jewish ha­tred now “per­me­ates the party ma­chine”.

Last night, a party of­fi­cial said they ex­pected at least one more peer to quit.

Speaking to The Daily Tele­graph, an­other well-known peer in­di­cated they were on the brink, stat­ing: “When I’m ready, maybe I will. I’m not go­ing to

speak about my feel­ings at present.” Two oth­ers are ru­moured to be con­sid­er­ing re­sign­ing, with a for­mer cab­i­net min­is­ter say­ing: “A lot of Labour peers are on the edge.”

The res­ig­na­tions capped a tu­mul­tuous 48 hours for the Labour leader, who has be­come em­broiled in an on­go­ing row over the use of non-dis­clo­sure agree­ments to “si­lence” for­mer staff.

Sources close to Mr Cor­byn are braced for the worst this evening, when the BBC broad­casts a Panorama in­ves­ti­ga­tion into how anti-semitism com­plaints have been han­dled.

De­spite re­ceiv­ing threats of le­gal action, more than half a dozen for­mer em­ploy­ees are un­der­stood to have torn up NDAS to speak pub­licly.

In his res­ig­na­tion let­ter, passed to BBC News­night, Lord Triesman said: “Day by day, the ex­tent and depth of anti-semitism be­comes clearer in the top lead­er­ship and National Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee [Labour’s gov­ern­ing body].

“Anti-semites are shielded and solid and serious party mem­bers are thrown out un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously. My sad con­clu­sion is that the Labour Party is very plainly in­sti­tu­tion­ally anti-semitic, and its leader and his cir­cle are anti-semitic hav­ing never once made the right judg­ment call about an is­sue re­flect­ing deep prej­u­dice.”

Lord Turn­berg said it was “no longer pos­si­ble” to tol­er­ate such “overt an­tisemitism”, adding that he feared “for the fu­ture” of the party.

A Labour spokesman said: “We com­pletely re­ject these false and of­fen­sive claims. The party at all levels is im­pla­ca­bly op­posed to anti-semitism and is de­ter­mined to root out this so­cial cancer from our move­ment and so­ci­ety.”

Sep­a­rately, Chris Wil­liamson, the sus­pended MP, was yes­ter­day re­ferred to a new dis­ci­plinary panel after claim­ing that Labour had been “too apolo­getic” over anti-semitism.

He had been read­mit­ted to the party by a panel of three NEC mem­bers last month, but was sub­se­quently re-sus­pended fol­low­ing a pub­lic out­cry.

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