Lord Falconer reopens Labour antisemitic hate cases
A Labour peer drafted in to put out the flames of its hugely damaging antisemitism crisis has warned ‘clear-cut’ cases where no action was taken will be reopened.
Lord Falconer, a former lord chancellor and flatmate of Tony Blair, said that he was prepared to dive into the party’s old cases to boot out antisemites who deserved it.
It came as his prospective appointment caused fresh controversy in the row threatening to tear the party apart.
The party claimed on Friday he had agreed to scrutinise disciplinary procedures, while he said taking on the role was still subject to agreement on the terms of his brief and it was ‘not a done deal yet’.
Lord Falconer told the Sunday Times: ‘If there are stone cold cases where nothing has been done, they would need to be looked at again.
‘There are hundreds of complaints that need to be dealt with.’
And he appeared to side with Tom Watson in a civil war hotting up between the party deputy leader and its general secretary Jennie Formby.
Ms Formby announced Lord Falconer’s appointment in a letter to Mr Watson in which she strongly criticised the Labour deputy leader.
The general secretary accused Mr Watson of ‘completely unacceptable’ behaviour by asking Labour MPs to forward complaints made to the party about antisemitism to him so they could be monitored.
Mr Watson returned fire in the extraordinary public spat by insisting there had been a ‘complete loss of trust’ in the party regarding the complaints situation.
But Lord |Falconer told the Sunday Times: ‘Something has been profoundly lacking, over a very long period of time. There’s nothing wrong with the deputy leader or any other MP asking for information about how complaints are going.
‘To say that is a breach of data laws is obviously wrong.’
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said ‘we clearly do’ when asked asked if the Labour Party had a problem with antisemitism but rejected claims of an institutional problem.
He told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday the party needs to be quicker to react, adding on some occasions it needs to be ‘more ruthless, more severe, and we’re doing that’.
Asked if there was a blind spot for some on the left when it came to antisemitism, Mr McDonnell replied: ‘There’s blind spots on left and right – the right have been virulently, violently antisemitic in our community, but yes, there is an issue on the left.’