Sky News are reporting that Labour’s legal team are trying to block an extensive Antisemitism report being submitted to the Equality and Human Rights Commission. The report has revealed widespread factional hostility towards Jeremy Corbyn by former senior officials (such as Iain McNicol, Tom Watson and former acting head of the governance and legal unit, Sam Matthews), which resulted in “a litany of mistakes” and directly hindered how complaints were handled.
The report states there was “no evidence” of antisemitism complaints being treated any differently to any other complaints and there was no suggestion that complaint handlers were in any way “motivated by Anti-Semitic intent”. The report did however find “abundant evidence of a hyper-factional atmosphere prevailing in Party HQ” towards Jeremy Corbyn, including thousands of emails and private WhatsApp messages between former senior party officials and criticised a number of so-called whistle-blowers involved in the BBC Panorama investigation into Labour’s alleged ‘Antisemitism issue’ last July.
Labour’s legal team are currently advising General Secretary, Jennie Formby, against sending the report to the EHRC in case it ‘damages the party’s wider case’.
Speaking to Sky News, one senior official in Corbyn’s leadership office, said the report “completely blows open everything that went on… We were being sabotaged and set up left right and centre by McNicol’s team and we didn’t even know. It’s so important that the truth comes out”.
The report states that senior former staff “openly worked against the aims and objectives of the leadership of the Party, and in the 2017 general election some key staff even appeared to work against the Party’s core objective of winning elections”.
Ironically, Spotlight have been reporting on the campaign to sabotage Corbyn’s leadership ever since Facebook blocked the Jacobin.org article that was printed and quickly retracted within days of the 2017 general election. The article, printed on the 13th July 2017, was a damning review of the PLP campaign. It stated, categorically that Labour would have won the election if it hadn’t been for “costly mistakes” made by “key players in the party”. The author praised the Momentum and party Leadership campaigns but said the Parliamentary Labour Party and trade union campaign was “shockingly terrible”. He points out how an excessive amount of resources went to safe seats and Progress candidates while winnable marginals were left completely unsupported. At one point he even accuses Labour centrists of being “criminally unambitious”
The Labour Antisemitism report now makes clear that McNicol and staff in the Governance and Legal Unit “provided timetables for the resolution of cases that were never met; falsely claimed to have processed all antisemitism complaints; falsely claimed that most complaints received were not about Labour members and provided highly inaccurate statistics of antisemitism complaints”. It also states that Sam Matthews, acting head of the governance and legal unit at the time and one of the whistle blowers interviewed on the Panorama program, “rarely replied or took any action, and the vast majority of times where action did occur, it was prompted by other Labour staff directly chasing this themselves”.
Needless to say McNicol and Matthews are doing what they can to try and deflect criticism.
Wonder if anyone’s asked the BBC’s Panorama producers for a comment?