In an interview Friday, Keir Starmer, who succeeded Corbyn as party chief in April, responded to the dramatic fallout from a report this week by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which found that Labour had violated anti-discrimination laws under Corbyn by mishandling complaints and committing “unlawful harassment” of Jews by two party agents. The report, published Thursday, was the first time that a mainstream party was the focus of an investigation by the government’s racism watchdog, whose findings are binding.
Corbyn, a far-left politician who has been accused by the current and previous chief rabbis of Britain of being personally anti-Semitic, responded to the report by reiterating his objection to anti-Semitism, but added that the problem has been “dramatically overstated for political reasons.” Starmer responded by suspending Corbyn, pending a party review.
The review, Starmer told Radio 4, could result in the first-ever expulsion of a former party leader from its ranks. “Yes, people have been expelled from the Labour party,” Starmer said in response to a question about whether Corbyn could be permanently removed. Of the 827 anti-Semitism cases investigated since April, about a third have resulted in expulsion from the party, he said.
Corbyn has vowed to fight the possibility of expulsion, calling that move political, too.
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