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UK Labour under pressure over anti-Semitism after BBC doc

11 July 2019

"It has now been re-secured", a party spokesperson was quoted by The Sun as saying.

"The charade of Jeremy Corbyn as an anti-racist activist has been blown apart".

He alleged people she had brought in since her appointment "overruled us and downgraded what should've been a suspension to just an investigation or worse to just a reminder of conduct, effectively a slap on the wrist".

"The National Constitutional Committee can not be allowed to continue in the way that they are at the moment, and I will also be challenging the panel for the Jackie Walker case", Formby wrote in an email that was sent to a handful of top party officials, including Corbyn and Milne. He was replaced by Jennie Formby as general Secretary.

In a March 2018 email, Milne called to investigate the party's review process regarding anti-Semitic complaints, telling Labour's then-head of disputes, Sam Matthews, that the proceedings were tainted by politics.

The BBC reports that, in the email from March past year, Mr Milne said there should be a review of the disciplinary process into anti-Semitic complaints. It started with politicians dividing people with "us vs.them".

A BBC spokesman accused Labour of "criticising a programme they have not seen".

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On Wednesday, Labour also filed a letter of complaint to the BBC over the airing of the Panorama exposé, alleging the reporting in the show "relies heavily and one-sidedly on the claims and allegations of politically partisan anonymous/unnamed sources and Conservative-supporting newspapers and organizations".

A Labour spokesman accused the broadcaster of "pre-determining" the outcome of its investigation.

Labour dismissed the narrative as "deliberate misrepresentations" based on the words of "disaffected, politically hostile former employees".

In May, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) launched a formal investigation to look into whether Labour has "unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised people because they are Jewish".

The Party slammed the BBC's choice of producer, John Ware, as "unsuitable", noting that Ware's "record of public political hostility to Jeremy Corbyn and his leadership of the Labour Party, as well as a series of controversial articles and programs on the Muslim community, means he can not be regarded as fair or even-handed on British politics". "Since Jennie Formby became general secretary the rate at which anti-Semitism cases have been dealt with has increased more than four-fold".

He said: "The programme adheres to the BBC's editorial guidelines".

Others, however, described the program as "damning" for Labour, calling the former Party members who spoke on film "heroes". A fuller extract of the email read: "If we're more than very occasionally using disciplinary action against Jewish members for anti-Semitism, something's going wrong, and we're muddling up political disputes with racism".

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The spokesman said: "The Panorama programme and the BBC have engaged in deliberate and malicious representations created to mislead the public".

"An honest investigation into antisemitism in Labour and wider society is in the public interest. Very serious questions now have to be answered".

Responding to the programme, a Labour spokesman said the party rejected any claim it is anti-Semitic and said it complained in advance to the BBC "over the way the programme was put together and its choice of a presenter who has expressed overt personal and political hostility to Jeremy Corbyn's politics".

Labour's disputes team is supposed to operate independently from the party's political structures, including the leader's office.

"Labour stands in solidarity with Jewish people and is fully committed to the support, defence and celebration of the Jewish community and its organisations".

"I've been told by a general secretary that I'm not legally responsible for dealing with outside regulatory bodies", Watson said.

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UK Labour under pressure over anti-Semitism after BBC doc