On 16th November 2019, Ms Carroll’s involvement in the ‘Labour Party Compliance – Expulsions Suspensions Rejections Co-op’ group was revealed, and it was reported that Ms Carroll had personally advised members accused of having disseminated posts featuring Holocaust denial, including Alan Bull. However, Ms Carroll reportedly claimed not to have seen the posts in question, saying that, had she done so, she would have immediately condemned them and insisting that she was “an outspoken critic of antisemitism in [the] party.”
It was further reported that she claimed to have joined the secret group when “Left-wing members were being suspended from the Labour Party to prevent them from voting in the 2016 Labour leadership election.” She reportedly added: “When a small number in the group took an antisemitic conspiratorial direction I left it.” It was noted that her most recent post in the group had apparently been in May 2019.
On 17th November 2019, it was reported that an investigation into Ms Carroll’s conduct had been instigated, and that she had sought to emphasise her opposition to antisemitism, posting on Twitter that her father had “fought in WW2 helping to liberate Auschwitz.” We note that the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp was liberated by Soviet troops in January 1945. Ms Carroll has also claimed that her father fought at Dunkirk, implying that he was not a Soviet soldier.
It was further reported that Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford had said: “I am of course concerned of reports on the actions taken by Maria Carroll. Welsh Labour acted immediately and referred these matters to the Governance and Legal Unit of the UK Labour Party for investigation. I have consistently made it clear that anti-Semitism [sic] has no place in our party or in Wales.”
However, also on 17th November 2019, it was reported that the Labour Party had dismissed the referral made by Welsh Labour because they said that Ms Carroll had not been accused of making antisemitic comments and had claimed not to have seen any.
On 18th November 2019, it was reported that, although Ms Carroll claimed to have left the Facebook group “when it took an anti-Semitic [sic] conspiratorial direction”, she was still apparently posting comments there in late October 2019.
It was further reported that senior figures within Welsh Labour had told BBC Wales that they were concerned at the UK party’s decision not to proceed with an investigation into Ms Carroll’s role in the group. A Labour Party source was reported as saying: “We previously investigated the Facebook group as a whole. We did not find antisemitic comments by Maria Carroll or comments by her which would amount to a breach of party rules. We did find comments by other members of the group which resulted in their swift suspensions.”
One source was reported as saying that the Party centrally had not received any complaints about Ms Carroll, and BBC Wales was reportedly told that UK Labour had not considered Welsh Labour informing them of the story as a complaint. However, a senior source within Welsh Labour reportedly told BBC Wales: “I just assumed someone would step in and do something after Mark Drakeford made that statement. I was gobsmacked when UK Labour said there’s been no complaint so we’re not investigating. Another Welsh Labour source reportedly said: “Mark wanted it looked at. The UK party needs to explain why this hasn’t happened.”
At the time of writing, on 28th November 2019, Ms Carroll’s Twitter account is protected.
Also at the time of writing, on 28th November 2019, we do not know the circumstances under which it was decided by the Labour Party that no investigation would proceed against Ms Carroll. However, the circumstances and outcomes of any future action would remain unknown, owing to the conditions of secrecy imposed by Baroness Chakrabarti’s report on antisemitism in the Labour Party.
In November 2019, Campaign Against Antisemitism put this matter to Ms Carroll, but did not receive a response.
Campaign Against Antisemitism is grateful to activists who provided us with the evidence of Ms Carroll’s statements with regard to our charity.