13 April 2020 | UK NEWS / ANALYSIS
An internal Labour Party report into antisemitism within the party was leaked to the press yesterday. Wolves has seen a copy of the 860-page document, but will not publish this owing to data protection issues.
This is our initial analysis, which will be updated over time. For now, we will simply make points as we notice them, which are not in any particular order across the document itself:
- Although this report is officially dated “March 2020”, the file we have seen was created on 3 April (the day before the new leader was announced) and was last modified at 2:32pm yesterday. This suggests to us that the bulk of the material was collated and documented by staffers of the outgoing Corbyn regime. It further suggests that it was only finalised very shortly before the leaks began, which may indicate that at least some of these were deliberate.
- The report spends dozens of early pages – in fact, the first 170 pages of Sections 1 and 2 – documenting instances of abuse directed at the outgoing leader and his team by internal party staff, which has little or nothing to do with the actual allegations of antisemitism levelled against the party that are the subject of the present EHRC investigation.
- There are many redactions in the report, the reasons for which are not given.
- The report specifically names individuals who have complained about anti-Semitism within the party (which could be a breach of privacy), noting for example on page 838 that “in 2019, half of all anti-Semitism complaints, and a third of all antisemitism cases, came from one individual”.
- This individual is named in a footnote reference to that sentence, which reads: “For evidence cited in this section, see: 2018-19: [name]”. However, this name does not in fact appear again anywhere else in the document, which is rather odd and suggests that it may be an incomplete draft.
- The overall tone of the report appears to be a whitewash that blames party structures for the scale of the problems addressed in the investigation, rather than the inherent antisemitism issues themselves. It appears to be the outgoing faction laying the blame at the feet of those Labour Party staffers who continued to hold moderate views.
- In particular, it repeatedly gives the impression that there was a noticeable uptick in performance in terms of dealing with antisemitism after Jennie Formby – a known Corbyn ally – became General Secretary in 2018.
We will bring you any further developments in this saga as they emerge.
UDPATE: Momentum has responded to this leak by demanding “a full enquiry” into the report, and saying that anyone involved in criticising Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership should be “barred from holding a senior party position again”:
UPDATE: The Leader of the Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer, and his Deputy Leader, Angela Rayner, have issued a joint statement confirming that they do intend to launch an enquiry into the circumstances surrounding this leaked report:
“We have seen a copy of an apparently internal report about the work of the Labour Party’s Governance and Legal Unit in relation to antisemitism. The content and the release of the report into the public domain raise a number of matters of serious concern. We will therefore commission an urgent independent investigation into this matter. This investigation will be instructed to look at three areas. First, the background and circumstances in which the report was commissioned and the process involved. Second, the contents and wider culture and practices referred to in the report. Third, the circumstances in which the report was put into the public domain.
We have also asked for immediate sight of any legal advice the Labour Party has already received about the report. In the meantime, we ask everyone concerned to refrain from drawing conclusions before the investigation is complete and we will be asking the General Secretary to put measures in place to protect the welfare of party members and party staff who are concerned or affected by this report.”
UPDATE: According to Guido Fawkes, a former Momentum and GLU staffer named Harry Hayball was the creator of the file that was originally disseminated. This differs from the copy that we have, which contains no such metadata but was certainly shared within Momentum chat groups. The page count is also different. It should be noted that the user account creating the final version of a file for dissemination is not necessarily the person who has compiled the information it contains. Indeed, this document will most likely be the work of a great many staffers.