Sir Keir Starmer has admitted that the Labour Party’s investigation into antisemitism allegations in connection with Pete Willsman is taking “too long”.
The Labour leader made the comments to Nick Ferrari on LBC.
In May 2019, the Party was provided with a recording of Mr Willsman, who is suspended from Labour but still sits on its ruling National Executive Committee, saying that the Israeli Embassy was behind allegations of antisemitism in the Labour Party, a popular antisemitic trope.
Sixteen months on and the investigation is yet to conclude. Sir Keir admitted that “it has taken too long, and I want it to be speeded up.” Although he declined to comment on the case, he insisted that he “did not want to dodge the challenge. On the cases, on the particular challenge of the speed, I now get regular reports on my desk telling me about why cases aren’t going as quickly as they should. We have got new processes in place, we’ve got a new approach. We are acting much much more quickly.” He went on to asset that “I am determined we will deal with it. I think in fairness, anybody looking at this will say we are taking this seriously. We are taking action. And we will be judged by the action we take.”
On 28th May 2019, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a full statutory investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
In the first release of its Antisemitism in Political Parties research, Campaign Against Antisemitism showed that Labour Party candidates for Parliament in the 2019 general election accounted for 82 percent of all incidents of antisemitic discourse by parliamentary candidates.
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Antisemitism Barometer 2019 showed that antisemitism on the far-left of British politics has surpassed that of the far-right.
Campaign Against Antisemitism advocates for zero tolerance of antisemitism in public life. To that end we monitor all political parties and strive to ensure that any cases of concern are properly addressed.