Thursday 17 December 2020 / 11:12 AM EHRC

Labour publishes Action Plan for Driving out Antisemitism following EHRC approval

Labour has today published its Action Plan for Driving out Antisemitism from the Labour Party which has been approved by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

This Action Plan is the party’s formal response to the report that was published following the EHRC’s investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party. It sets out the steps that the party will take to implement the report’s recommendations, including:

·       Establishing an independent process to investigate complaints of antisemitism, Islamophobia, racism, sexual harassment and any discrimination based on protected characteristics. The Leader, the Deputy Leader and their offices will have no involvement in deciding the outcome of individual complaint cases

·       Appointing external lawyers to advise on NCC antisemitism panel hearings

·       Addressing the backlog of antisemitism cases

·       Strengthening social media guidelines and due-diligence checks for prospective Labour candidates

·       Setting up an Advisory Board composed of members from the Jewish community and a Reference Group to ensure transparency and increase trust and confidence in our procedures

·       Developing all education and training programmes on antisemitism in consultation with Jewish stakeholders

The party will meet regularly with the EHRC to monitor its progress in implementing the plan.

In the plan’s foreword, the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner, said:

“Since we were elected to the leadership of the Labour Party earlier this year we have made rooting out antisemitism our number one priority.

“The Equality and Human Rights Commission report on antisemitism in the Labour Party is incredibly difficult reading for everyone who loves our party and wants it be a force for good. But its findings were clear and stark: the Labour Party breached the Equality Act in terms of unlawful harassment and indirect discrimination towards our Jewish members.

“We failed the Jewish community, our members, our supporters and the country. That is why we must act to drive antisemitism out of our party and change the processes, structures and the culture of the party to ensure Jewish people feel safe to return to their political home.

“That requires more than just words. It requires action.

“The Action Plan for Driving out Antisemitism from the Labour Party published today sets out concrete steps and a timetable to do this.

“First, we will change the way complaints of antisemitism and all other forms of racism are handled.

“We will be establishing an independent process to investigate complaints of antisemitism, Islamophobia, racism, sexual harassment and any discrimination based on protected characteristics.

“To ensure there is no inappropriate political input into decisions neither the Leader, the Deputy Leader nor our offices will have any involvement in deciding the outcome of  individual complaint cases, and we will employ external lawyers to advise antisemitism panel hearings. We will also address the backlog of antisemitism cases.

“We will not hesitate to sanction those who breach our rules and regulations.

“Social media guidelines will be strengthened and candidates wishing to represent the party will undergo greater due diligence checks.

“Second, we commit to greater transparency in our complaints processes to increase trust and confidence in our procedures.

“To implement this Action Plan effectively we will set up an advisory board composed of members from the Jewish community and a reference group to act as a sounding board and critical friend.

“This action plan will help us act decisively against antisemitism in all its forms.  It will hold us to the highest standard and ensure we neither miss incidences nor accept denial or excuses.

“Restoring trust with the Jewish community and changing our party’s culture will take time and hard work, but we will do it.

“As a party, we know we have a mountain to climb. But our determination is undimmed – and our commitment to getting it right is absolute. We will only consider this work a success when members who left our party because of antisemitism feel safe to return.”

Ends

 

Notes to Editors

·       The Action Plan for Driving out Antisemitism from the Labour Party can be viewed here: https://labour.org.uk/ehrc-action-plan