June 05, 2020
More than 2,000 Labour Party activists have signed a letter setting out demands for the independent inquiry around the leaked report into its handling of anti-Semitism.
Thousands Back Open Letter Citing BAME Voters Loss Of Trust In Labour Party
It has been sent to chair Martin Forde QC and carries the signatures of more than 70 branch chairs and secretaries, 30 plus Labour councillors, and senior academics, among others.
The 860-page report was drafted in March and leaked in April, while Jeremy Corbyn was leader, and was to be part of the party’s submission to an ongoing investigation by the Equality and Human Rights Commission into anti-Semitism.The document, which contained private WhatsApp conversations, includes claims of a “litany of mistakes, deficiencies, and missed opportunities” to adequately address anti-Semitism within the party.
It also raised grave concerns of anti-Black racism, otherwise referred to as Afriphobia, which campaigners argue have not been adequately addressed by the party’s leadership. Labour officials used a string of insults in private WhatsApp groups to describe senior Black MPs and officials including Diane Abbott, Dawn Butler and Clive Lewis, the lengthy document revealed.Nick Fitzpatrick, co-author of the letter, has warned that the party is losing the trust of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people.
“We are seeing a loss of trust in Labour within BAME communities, appalled by the allegations of racism within the party machine,” he said.
“Activists are stunned at how senior party members and officials allegedly subverted the party machine – damaging Labour at a critical time.
“We need to regain these communities’ trust and heal the wounds in our party. To do that, party members, and the wider public, need to have full confidence that this inquiry will deliver what was promised by Keir Starmer – a full, open independent inquiry into the whole report and the wider culture and practices it appears to have revealed.”The letter calls for a full investigation into all allegations around the leaked report – plus the extent of racist, sexist and other discriminatory culture within Labour.
Legal claims against the Labour Party covering the Data Protection Act, invasion of privacy, and libel are all being considered by individuals and entities named in the file.
Following the leaked report, party leader Keir Starmer ordered the inquiry and urged readers not to draw “conclusions” before it was complete.
He then appointed Forde to head it up alongside three Labour peer panellists – Debbie Wilcox, a former leader of Newport City Council; Larry Whitty, a former Labour Party general secretary; and Ruth Lister, an emeritus professor of social policy at Loughborough University.
The terms of reference include “the extent of racist, sexist and other discriminatory culture within Labour Party workplaces, the attitudes and conduct of the senior staff of the Labour Party, and their relationships with the elected leadership of the Labour Party”.
This comes after HuffPost UK published an exclusive two-part report into allegations that Labour has been slow to deal with anti-Black racism and to support its Black members.
Labour’s perceived silence on alleged instances of anti-Black racism has cost the party the support of dozens of Black members.
But for others, dissatisfaction has been growing over years rather than weeks, and stems from what is seen as a lack of representation at the top tables – and of solidarity with the senior Black politicians the party does have.
Open Labour, an activist group within the party, told HuffPost UK: “The leaked report highlighted multiple instances of anti-Black racism against Black MPs that has now sparked a much-needed conversation around anti-Black racism, a topic all too often ignored.”
We spoke to or were made aware of more than 50 people who have given up their membership or say they are considering doing so over alleged anti-Black racism in the party.Related... How Labour’s Alleged Afriphobia Left Black People Feeling ‘Politically Homeless' Exclusive: Labour Is Losing Black Members Over Allegations Of Anti-Black Racism
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