It is being reported that formal complaints have been submitted to Sheffield City Council and the Labour Party in connection to antisemitism.
The Director of Legal and Governance at Sheffield Council said: “All complaints received are taken seriously. We are unable to confirm details of any complaint or individuals identified in order to protect all affected parties.”
It can be difficult to discipline councillors over misconduct, as, generally speaking, at the time of the misconduct they must have been acting in their capacity as councillors, which can be particularly challenging to determine in the case of social media posts.
Nevertheless, as Campaign Against Antisemitism has previously observed in its report on local authorities last year, a councillor on Sheffield City Council was reportedly reprimanded in the past for comments on social media that were found to “constitute a potential breach of the Members’ Code of Conduct”, despite the councillor having included in his social media biography that the views he expressed there were his own and not those of the Council (although it is not clear when this caveat was added to his biography). A separate complaint against the same councillor in connection with comments made on an anonymous social media account was dismissed, meanwhile, partly because the Council lacked sufficient evidence linking the councillor to that account and partly because the Council’s Monitoring Officer stated that the councillor would not be acting in his official capacity when using an anonymous account and therefore would in any event fall outside of the purview of the Council’s code of conduct.
The circumstances of the new complaints against Labour councillors are not public.
A spokesman for the Labour Party said: “The Labour Party takes all complaints of antisemitism extremely seriously and they are fully investigated in line with our rules and procedures, and any appropriate disciplinary action is taken.”
Sheffield Council releases a list of complaints to the standards board every year but does not name individuals.
Sanctions for breaches of the Council’s code of conduct range from a formal apology to suspension from committee meetings for a period. A councillor’s political party can also impose sanctions.
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.