Three people have been arrested in a police investigation into alleged anti-Semitism among Labour Party members.
A man in his 50s was arrested in Birmingham on March 7, a second man in his 50s in Tunbridge Wells on March 14, and a woman in her 70s in Wandsworth, south London, on March 21. They were all arrested on suspicion of publishing or distributing material likely to stir racial hatred.
All three have been released pending further inquiries.
The investigation was prompted by an internal Labour dossier detailing anti-Semitic social media messages allegedly posted by party members, which was obtained by LBC radio.
Reports at the time suggested that the documents included details of 45 cases, including one which allegedly read: “We shall rid the Jews who are a cancer on us all.”
The radio station handed the dossier to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick following an interview last September, and a formal inquiry was announced in November.
It is understood that disciplinary action was taken by Labour against the three individuals believed to be under investigation, and none of them are members of the party any longer.
In a statement, Scotland Yard said the contents of the dossier had been examined by specialist officers and the three individuals arrested were interviewed under caution before being released under investigation.
A Labour Party spokesman said: “We welcome the police investigating these individuals’ alleged crimes.
“Anti-Semitism has no place in our society and we are committed to challenging and campaigning against it in all its forms.”
The arrests mark the latest stage in a long-running controversy over anti-Semitism among Labour supporters.
Leader Jeremy Corbyn has told general secretary Jennie Formby to make rooting the prejudice out her number one priority. However, Jewish groups have accused the party of failing to take action quickly enough.
In a joint statement, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Community Security Trust and Jewish Leadership Council said the areas were “highly significant”.
They added: “We await the outcome of the investigations, but ask why Labour had not itself alerted the police.
“We are also concerned as to how many more cases remain unknown and repeat our request, made one year ago to Mr Corbyn, that the party urgently appoint an independent ombudsman on such matters.”