UK’s Labour Party suspends Jeremy Corbyn in anti-semitism row


London: The United Kingdom’s (UK) Opposition Labour Party suspended Thursday former leader Jeremy Corbyn from its ranks. This suspension came after a report by the UK’s human rights watchdog held the party ‘responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination’ during Jeremy Corbyn’s time in charge.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) had launched an investigation into anti-semitism within the party following a string of complaints. It found that Labour Party had broken the law in its failure to handle anti-semitism, or anti-Jewish complaints.  There were ‘serious failings’ by its leadership at the time.

However, in his reaction to the report Corbyn said that the number of complaints made during his tenure was “’dramatically overstated’.

“One anti-semite is one too many, but the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media. That combination hurt Jewish people and must never be repeated,” said Corbyn, in reference to the report.

A Labour Party spokesperson issued a statement soon after to announce that Corbyn had been suspended from the party.

“In light of his comments made today and his failure to retract them subsequently, the Labour Party has suspended Jeremy Corbyn pending investigation. He has also had the whip removed from the Parliamentary Labour Party,” the spokesperson said.

In his reaction to the EHRC report, current Opposition leader Keir Starmer had indicated that a denial stance to the report would not be tolerated, without any specific references to Corbyn.

Starmer said: “And if – after all the pain, all the grief, and all the evidence in this report, there are still those who think there’s no problem with anti-semitism in the Labour Party, that it’s all exaggerated, or a factional attack. Then, frankly, you are part of the problem too. And you should be nowhere near the Labour Party either.”

Earlier, the EHRC had served the Labour Party with an unlawful act notice after an investigation into antisemitism by the Equality and Human Rights Commission found it responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination.

Its investigation, launched in May last year, identified serious failings in the party leadership in addressing anti-semitism and an inadequate process for handling anti-semitism complaints.