Keir Starmer Says EHRC Anti-Semitism Verdict Marks 'Day Of Shame' For Labour

But Labour leader dodges questions about whether Jeremy Corbyn should be suspended.

Keir Starmer has called the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s findings a “day of shame” for the Labour Party – but refused to expel Jeremy Corbyn when asked if he would.

The leader described the watchdog’s report as “clear and stark” and used a press conference on Thursday to tell Jewish members he was “truly sorry” for the pain and grief caused.

The EHRC found the party was guilty of three breaches of equality law, including harassment and discrimination against Jewish people, and political interference in anti-Semitism complaints.

The watchdog found 23 instances of political interference from people working in former leader Corbyn’s office.

But the report does not name the former leader and instead criticises a “collective failure” of leadership at the top of the party.

Starmer said: “I found this report hard to read and it is a day of shame for the Labour Party.

“We have failed Jewish people, our members, our supporters and the British public.

Former Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks to the media
Former Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks to the media

“And so, on behalf of the Labour Party: I am truly sorry for all the pain and grief that has been caused.”

During the press conference, Starmer was asked repeatedly whether he would move to suspend or expel Corbyn.

The former leader attracted a torrent of criticism over his reaction to the report on Thursday, as he claimed anti-Semitism allegations were “dramatically overstated”.

He said in a statement: “Anyone claiming there is no anti-Semitism in the Labour Party is wrong. Of course there is, as there is throughout society, and sometimes it is voiced by people who think of themselves as on the left. [...]

“One anti-Semite is one too many, but the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media.”

Asked whether Corbyn had been fit to be Labour leader, Starmer said: “The report doesn’t make individual findings about Jeremy Corbyn.”

He acknowledged it made “strong findings about leadership”, adding: “We all have to accept the findings in this report – we all have to accept responsibility.

“We all have to understand the hurt and pain caused by this.”

Starmer said he would look at Corbyn’s response to the report later, but added: “Those that deny there’s a problem are part of the problem.”

Starmer added: “Under my leadership we will have zero tolerance of anti-Semitism.”

Labour was served with a legal notice by the EHRC and has six weeks to form an action plan, which will be legally enforceable by the watchdog.


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