AT least thirty more whistle-blowers are set to submit evidence of anti-semitism within the Labour Party to an investigation by the equalities watchdog.
The revelation comes after shocking accusations of interference with internal probes by top Labour aides were aired in a special BBC Panorama.
Jeremy Corbyn has been criticised for Labour’s handling of claims of anti-semitism since he became leader[/caption]
Eight former staff members broke restrictive gagging orders to appear on the documentary and reveal how the party was hit by a flood of racism targeted at Jewish people after Jeremy Corbyn became leader in 2015.
Labour insisted that leader’s team have never intervened in how such incidents were investigated, and said they would be making a formal complaint to the BBC.
More are now thought to be ready to submit evidence to a pending investigation by the Equality and Human Right Commission.
The former staffers told the BBC that recruits brought in by Jennie Formby – the party’s new general secretary and a close Corbyn ally – blocked racists from being booted out.
Dan Hogan, a former investigator on Labour’s Disputes Team, said they “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 programme also alleged that on one occasion the leader’s office ordered batches of anti-Semitism complaints to be brought to his office to be looked at by his aides.
Former staff told how they were left signed off work by the stress of dealing with anti-Semitism – with former head of disputes Sam Matthews saying he was left “suicidal” by the pressure.
He told the documentary how he once contemplated jumping off Formby’s office balcony over the leadership’s attitude to complaints.
CONCERNS WERE LAUGHED AT
While bombshell leaked emails reveal Ms Formby intervened to handpick who will sit on a disciplinary panel for Jackie Walker, former vice chair of the left-wing campaign group Momentum.
The controversial activist was eventually kicked out after alleged anti-Semitism back in March this year.
In an email on May 5 last year, Ms Formby wrote: “The NCC cannot 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.”
Mr Corbyn, his chief of staff Karie Murphy and his spin chief Seumas Milne were all copied in.
Ms Formby later wrote to the group about the email, saying: “I’ve permanently deleted all trace of the email. Too many eyes all on my Labour address. Please use my Unite address.”
Mr Milne, the Labour leader’s controversial spin chief, was also dragged into the scandal.
He allegedly laughed at calls for a crack down on anti-Semitism and was said to have suggested the leader’s office should be handed direct control of the disciplinary process.
Mike Creighton, former head of the Labour’s disputes team, said he was approached by Seumas Milne for advice in spring 2016.
Mr Creighton said: “[Milne] said, I want to talk to you about anti-Semitism, how we deal with it.
“And I gave him my advice, which as I recall was two things; one was, we should deal with some of the top level anti-Semitic cases much more swiftly and much more robustly.
“Second thing I suggested was that it would be the right time for Jeremy Corbyn as leader, to make a significant speech on the issue of the Middle East, particularly saying that Israel had a right to exist.”
“He actually laughed at me.”
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As the BBC Panorama programme finished, a post appeared on the twitter account of Labour’s press team that read: “There we have it folks, proof if any was needed that the Labour party IS institutionally racist and will be until Corbyn and his cronies go #EnoughIsEnough.”
The tweet was promptly deleted, and a party spokeswoman said the account had been “briefly hacked”.
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