Ex-Labour head Jeremy Corbyn fights to overturn suspension

Former UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn began his bid to be reinstated as a member of the party in the High Court, UK media reported.

In a pre-action application hearing scheduled to take place next week, Corbyn’s lawyers are expected to ask the judge to grant the disclosure of evidence relating to his suspension last year. Moreover, the lawyers are expected to request evidence of negotiations from before the suspension hearing in the office of British Labour leader Keir Starmer, in addition to requesting access to  a recording of the online National Executive Committee  disciplinary panel meeting that approved the dropping of the suspension.

Corbyn was suspended from the party in light of his comments after a report said the party was responsible for unlawful harassment and discrimination in its handling of allegations of antisemitism.

Following a meeting of a disciplinary panel only three weeks after his ousting, Corbyn was allowed to be reinstated as a party member by the National Executive Committee. However, he was blocked from becoming a sitting MP of the Labour Party.

The Press Association learned in November that the chief whip of Labour, Nick Brown, asked Corbyn to “unequivocally, unambiguously and without reservation” apologize for the comments he made. So far he has not.

For a long period of time there were complaints against the Labour Party concerning antisemitic statements and even harassment of its Jewish members. According to Reuters, The Jewish Labour Movement, an affiliate to the Labour Party, gave numerous examples of antisemitism in the party. One person gave 22 examples of abuse with antisemitic overtones where he was called a “child killer” and “Tory Jew.” A candidate selected for parliament also witnessed a party member say to a Jewish councilor to go home and count their money.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) was called upon to investigate the numerous antisemitic acts that were attributed to the Labour Party.  The EHRC contacted the Labour Party after receiving complaints about antisemitism in the party. After considering the response given, the EHRC decided to enact their powers under the Equality Act and investigate the allegations. Their report led to an uproar against the Labour Party.

The report found that “unlawful acts” were committed by the party. The EHRC made suggestions to the party which under law must draft a strategy in order to deal with the problems based on the recommendations of the EHRC. According to the report, the EHRC must agree to the plan and “will continue to monitor it. If the Labour Party fails to live up to its commitments in the legally binding action plan, then we may take enforcement action.” The report mentioned that there is a code of conduct that Labour Party members must follow, “The Labour Party also has a code of conduct on the use of social media. This does not refer to antisemitism.”

The EHRC ended its report stating that “there was political interference in the handling of antisemitism complaints”, which it said was part of a “wider practice” of the leader of the opposition’s office getting involved “in disciplinary cases that were deemed ‘politically sensitive.’”

The EHRC reviewed approximately 70 complaints that were lodged between March 2016 and May 2019. It came to the conclusion that there were 23 instances of “political interference” by staff from the leader’s office and others.

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