The Labour Party has taken a regressive step by reportedly opening and promptly closing an investigation into Deputy Leader Angela Rayner over an antisemitism complaint submitted by Campaign Against Antisemitism. The complaint relates to Ms Rayner’s promotion of a book entitled The Holocaust Industry, in which the author claims that the American Jewish establishment exploits the Holocaust for political and financial gain.
We submitted our complaint against Ms Rayner and several other MPs on the day of the publication of the report into antisemitism in the Labour Party by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). Campaign Against Antisemitism was the complainant in the EHRC’s investigation.
The complaints were accompanied by a specific demand that no investigation be launched until the Labour Party introduced a new, independent disciplinary system, as mandated by the EHRC. Late last year, the Party announced its action plan to address antisemitism, which revealed that the independent process could not be installed until after the Party’s annual conference in autumn later this year.
The Labour Party never acknowledged receipt of our complaint, let alone informed us that an investigation was opened. Nor has the Party disclosed to us that this investigation has now been closed. It is therefore unclear whether any investigation has been carried out at all, but if it has, it has not been independent, by Labour’s own admission.
As far as we are concerned, therefore, the complaint against Ms Rayner remains open, and we expect a full and transparent investigation once the independent disciplinary system is in place later this year.
Gideon Falter, Chief Executive of Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “It is still business as usual for the Labour Party when it comes to antisemitism. It is hard to see how the handling of this complaint by Labour under Sir Keir Starmer has been any different to how it would have been handled under Jeremy Corbyn.
“Our complaint against Angela Rayner was never acknowledged by Labour. The Party also did not confirm that it was investigating, and now it has tried to drop the investigation without a word. The EHRC found Labour’s disciplinary processes unfit precisely because the Party tries to sneak through exonerations without due process. Our complaint demanded that any investigation be delayed until an independent process is installed, which Labour has publicly confirmed cannot happen until the autumn, therefore as far as we are concerned, our complaint remains open.
“The investigation of our complaint against Angela Rayner has been a sham and we will be re-introducing the complaint to the independent disciplinary panel when it is set up. British Jews should be under no illusion that despite Sir Keir’s promises, under his leadership the skulduggery apparently continues at Labour Headquarters.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism has also lodged a complaint against Jeremy Corbyn, holding him responsible for conduct that is prejudicial or grossly detrimental to the Labour Party, as the Leader during the period of the EHRC’s shameful findings. Given the serious detriment that this conduct has caused, we are seeking Mr Corbyn’s immediate resuspension and, if the complaint is upheld, we will be requesting his expulsion. On the day of the publication of the EHRC’s report, we also submitted a major complaint against Mr Corbyn and other sitting MPs. These complaints are yet to be acknowledged by the Party, and they must be investigated by an independent disciplinary process that the EHRC has demanded and Sir Keir has promised but has yet to introduce.
The Labour Party was found by the EHRC to have engaged in unlawful discrimination and harassment of Jews. The report followed the EHRC’s investigation of the Labour Party in which Campaign Against Antisemitism was the complainant, submitting hundreds of pages of evidence and legal argument. Sir Keir Starmer called the publication of the report a “day of shame” for the Labour Party.
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.
In 2019, Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Antisemitism Barometer showed that antisemitism on the far-left of British politics had 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.