Investigation into anti-Semitism in Labour Party was 'heartbreaking'
Investigation into anti-Semitism in Labour Party was 'heartbreaking'
Theresa May speaks during PMQs
11 July, 2019, 15:52
Lord Triesman - the general secretary of the Labour Party for two years under Tony Blair - accused the party's leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and "his circle" of being anti-Semitic.
Labour's deputy leader, Tom Watson, who is frequently critical of Corbyn, said he was "shocked, chilled and appalled" by the allegations in the BBC report.
Based largely on information provided by eight former party members, the show has provoked a wave of indignation from Labour, which accused the BBC of violating its own "obligations of fairness, balance and political impartiality".
Speaking on BBC Radio Wales' Breakfast programme, he added: "The thing that was most rotten about the response to [the claims] was to try and rubbish their reputation, simply saying they were politically motivated and disaffected staff, as opposed to young men and women who've spoken out very bravely and honourably about what is clearly an terrible situation". The Panorama team instead pre-determined an answer to the question posed by the programme's title.
Sir Keir Starmer said the party had to do "whatever is necessary" to win back critics who had deserted Labour over its handling of anti-Semitism claims.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I consider it every day and I grill myself every day because it is so hard to stay in this party".
Following the release of the film, Labour Against Anti-Semitism, an internal party group, said in a statement that the reputation of the Labour Party "has been shredded by a Hard Left establishment that has proven apparently incapable of addressing the endemic racism within" and that "their reign must be quickly and efficiently ended".
He said: "Former Labour officials have been compelled by their conscience to speak out, revealing the scale of the duplicity behind Labour's failure to address the party's anti-Semitism crisis".
British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt said the BBC investigation showed that Corbyn was either "wilfully blind to anti-Semitism or anti-Semitic himself".
"It was heartbreaking to watch the testimony of honourable lifelong Labour officials contemplating suicide and suffering breakdowns because of the actions of Mr Corbyn and his team", Mr Falter said. Many of those interviewed by Ware "have always opposed Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, worked to actively undermine it, and have both personal and political axes to grind", the Party stated, questioning their credibility as sources in such an investigation.
Senior Labour figures have been accused of interfering with the disciplinary process investigating claims of anti-Semitism, according to BBC Panorama.
A number of whistle-blowers on the show recalled there was an order from Corbyn's office that all anti-Semitism complaints be transferred from party headquarters to his office for processing by his aides. It showed the downplaying of serious allegations.
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.
"Why do the young Jewish members who bravely spoke out feel so unwelcome in our Party? He is the biggest friend anti-Semites have had since the Second World War". We stand in solidarity with Jewish people, and we're taking decisive action to root out antisemitism from our movement and society. "Since Jennie Formby became general secretary the rate at which anti-Semitism cases have been dealt with has increased more than four-fold".
Labour is braced for further revelations in a potentially damaging BBC Panorama investigation on anti-Semitism in the party which is due to be aired on Wednesday night. It was a seriously inaccurate, politically one-sided polemic, which breached basic journalistic standards, invented quotes and edited emails to change their meaning.
"Despite claims made in the programme, Labour is taking decisive action against antisemitism".
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