Three Labour peers resign whip ahead of anti-semitism expose
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.