LABOUR is being formally investigated by a human rights watchdog after ‘a number of complaints’ about alleged anti-Semitism in the party.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has launched an inquiry into whether the party ‘unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised people because they are Jewish’.
Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson said: ‘I feel utter shame this investigation is necessary but I truly hope it will provide the means to finally root out anti-Jewish racism from our party once and for all.’
The EHRC will examine if ‘unlawful acts’ were committed by the party, its employees or agents, and look at the response to complaints.
It cannot issue fines but can devise an action plan.
Former Labour minister Dame Margaret Hodge, who is Jewish, said it was a ‘disgraceful day’ for the party and ‘one of the most depressing’ in her 56 years as a member.
She said Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (pictured) ‘has completely failed from day one to take this issue seriously.’
Marie van der Zyl, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, noted ‘the last party to face a racism probe from the EHRC was the British National Party, which is a truly shameful indictment’.
Labour said it would ‘cooperate fully’, and rejected any suggestion it does not handle anti-Semitism complaints ‘fairly and robustly’.
■ A WATCHDOG has been urged to investigate allegations of ‘institutional Islamophobia’ in the Conservative Party. The Equality and Human Rights Commission was told by the Muslim Council of Britain that the Tories had failed to tackle the issue. About 150 Conservative politicians and members have ‘engaged in Islamophobia’ and internal investigators show a ‘callous attitude’ to victims, the council said in a letter. The EHRC said it was considering complaints about the party ‘in line with our usual processes’.