According to recent reports, the Labour Party has lost tens of thousands of members since Sir Keir Starmer became leader, with the exodus apparently accelerating since the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn.
This is the first time since Mr Corbyn’s election as Leader that the Party’s membership has fallen below half a million, which was itself a staggering achievement for a British political party in the current era.
There was a great deal of concern over entryism during Mr Corbyn’s two leadership primary campaigns and, more generally, over the possibility that many of these new members were tolerant of or held far-left antisemitic views. These concerns appeared to be borne out over the course of Mr Corbyn’s tenure as Leader, and Campaign Against Antisemitism’s 2019 Antisemitism Barometer showed, based on analysis of polling conducted by YouGov, that people holding four or more antisemitic views were particularly attracted to Mr Corbyn.
Since Mr Corbyn’s resignation as Leader and the increasingly heated confrontation between different factions in the Labour Party, it has become evident that some of these pro-Corbyn members – some of whom were returning to Labour after decades outside of the Party and others who had joined the Party for the first time – were becoming disillusioned. Campaign Against Antisemitism has long been concerned about where some of these Labour members might go next.
Joe Glasman, Head of Political and Government Investigations at Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “We continue to urge other parties – especially, for obvious reasons, on the political Left – to be vigilant that anyone espousing antisemitic tropes not be made welcome in their parties. Antisemitism has no place in any political party, and the EHRC has rightly addressed the conclusions of its report into Labour to all political parties. It would be a tragedy for Britain if anti-Jewish racism were not only to persist in Labour but to reappear on such a scale in any other Party.”
The Labour Party was found by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (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.
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.