Lord Falconer has reportedly said that he won’t conduct a review of Labour’s handling of disciplinary cases of antisemitism while the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) intervenes.
The EHRC has begun pre-enforcement proceedings against the Labour Party following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant. The pre-enforcement proceedings are a precursor to opening a full statutory investigation.
Speaking exclusively to the Jewish News, Lord Falconer said that: “In light of the Commission coming in, I think we’ve got to put it on hold, see what the Commission is going to do. If they are minded to do an investigation, they will have a range of statutory powers to get documents, e-mails, WhatsApp messages and witnesses, and they will do an investigation that will be completely independent from the Labour Party. So there is no point in me, with my firm of solicitors, coming in and doing exactly the same thing because it won’t carry the same degree of statutory support as the commission has.”
Lord Falconer is right to let the EHRC get on with its work. He had already made up his mind on crucial issues, declaring that he would not be criticising Labour’s leadership and even defending Jeremy Corbyn’s opposition to the removal of the notorious antisemitic mural in Tower Hamlets. The last thing that we need is another inadequate review by a Labour peer, which is why we are pleased that the Commission has decided to act on our referral and investigate the Labour Party.
The Commission has the power to compel the Party to produce any evidence it requires, and the authority to force the Party to act. Lord Falconer could never have had those powers, nor could we have had confidence in him to investigate the Party’s antisemitism problem impartially and comprehensively, as we are confident that the Commission will.
In the past six months, eleven MPs have resigned from the Labour Party over antisemitism.