Labour has considered 673 cases of alleged antisemitism since last April, and members were either suspended or formally investigated in just under half of those cases, the party has revealed in an email to MPs. Releasing its disciplinary data for the first time, the party’s general secretary, Jennie Formby, said 96 members had been suspended…
Labourhas considered 673 cases of alleged antisemitism since last April, and members were either suspended or formally investigated in just under half of those cases, the party has revealed in an email to MPs.
Releasing its disciplinary data for the first time, the party’s general secretary, Jennie Formby, said 96 members had been suspended and 211 had been issued with a notice of investigation. Of the remainder, 146 were given a preliminary warning and 220 cases did not have sufficient evidence to proceed.
The data suggests that among the 307 cases where members were investigated or suspended, decisions have been made by Labour’s governing national executive committee in 96 of them, or around a third, and more than 40 members have left the party of their own volition.
Forty-two members have been referred to Labour’s highest disciplinary body, the national constitutional committee, the only panel with the power to expel members.
Nineteen cases are currently outstanding from that committee. So far, 12 members have been expelled by the NCC and six have received other sanctions. Five have left the party of their own accord.
Formby said the party had previously been of the view that disciplinary statistics should remain confidential because of how they could be “misinterpreted or misused for other purposes by the party’s political rivals”.
However, she said that because of the “importance of rebuilding trust with Jewish communities” she had pushed NEC officers to agree to the release of the data.
The data also indicates a large number of complaints – more than 400 in total – about non-Labour members.
Formby said she rejected claims from some quarters that antisemitism allegations were a smear. “I have seen hard evidence of it and that is why I have been so determined to do whatever is possible to eliminate it from the party,” she said. “It is also the reason why I made it a priority to implement robust procedures to deal with it whenever it is identified.”
Formby told MPs at a meeting last week that she could not guarantee to eradicate antisemitism from the party. MPs including Margaret Hodge, Ruth Smeeth and Catherine McKinnell said Formby had been slow to tackle dozens of claims of abuse and threats from Labour party members.
A motion unanimously passed by the meeting of the parliamentary Labour party in Westminstercalled on the leadership to do more to tackle antisemitismin the party.
In her letter sent on Monday, Formby said her comments last week were in the context of new members regularly joining the party. “I can guarantee that we now have robust procedures to deal with it whenever it is identified,” she said.
Formby said she had attempted to reopen conversations with Jewish community organisations to rebuild trust over the past few weeks. It is understood Formby had a private meeting with the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Marie van der Zyl.
Formby suggested there were still some key differences where Jewish groups felt they could not engage. “I very much hope this will change as I remain absolutely committed to engaging and working together with Jewish community organisations at all times,” she said.