Pressure is building on the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to come to a charging decision in the cases of the Labour activists arrested by police in connection with antisemitism in the Party.
The Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick, recently revealed that six arrests were made in connection with a secret dossier compiled by the Labour Party and subsequently leaked and referred to the Met by Campaign Against Antisemitism and the radio channel LBC, and that five of the cases were passed to the CPS in September 2019. Commissioner Dick explained that the cases represented a “complex crime type” and that the CPS would have to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to bring charges and a public interest in prosecuting.
Following Commissioner Dick’s revelation, a former Director of Public Prosecutions, Lord MacDonald QC, intervened in the matter to say that he believes not only that the CPS has had sufficient time to review the cases of the arrested Labour members and should announce its conclusions, but that the evidence suggests that crimes have indeed been committed.
Now, the Justice Secretary, Robert Buckland, has been asked on LBC for his position, replying: ”Obviously the CPS is the independent prosecutor. I am not going to comment about an individual case. But what I would say is the very fact we are talking about it on national radio, and the importance of this issue – antisemitism as you know is a serious issue not just because of itself but because it is a gateway to other types of prejudice in my view – I very much hope that everybody involved in the investigation will do it thoroughly. Obviously, it has to be looked at properly, but that it can be expedited.”
When asked about whether the CPS might be delaying in order to allow the issue to fade away, Mr Buckland said: “It [the time delay] can go on for as long as is deemed necessary. We’ve got to remember of course that if the case is what we call ‘summary only’ and can only be dealt with in the magistrates’ courts…there is a six month limit. Everyone needs to remember that. If it is going to the crown court, then there is no time limit.
“If everyone has that in mind as to the type of charge they might bring, then they should consider the matter carefully but obviously, like anything, delay is not the most desirable outcome. We need to get on with justice and deal with it as swiftly as possible.”
On 28th May 2019, the Equality and Human Rights Commission launched a full statutory investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
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.
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Antisemitism Barometer 2019 showed that antisemitism on the far-left of British politics has surpassed that of the far-right.