Labour MPs, led by Jewish MPs Dame Louise Ellman and Dame Margaret Hodge, this week unanimously passed a motion ordering Jennie Formby, the party’s general secretary and a major supporter of party leader Jeremy Corbyn, to reveal details of anti-Semitism complaints and investigations within the party.
Formby bowed to the pressure, Sky News reported on Monday, and said that only 12 out of 673 complaints had resulted in members being expelled, close to a third were dropped with not action taken, and only 42 were referred for disciplinary action.
Formby’s figures were challenged by many MPs, who were furious that she had failed to show up and answer their questions at a meeting Labour’s faction in parliament. Hodge told reporters: “It’s very depressing. I don’t believe the data. I don’t think the data is complete. Trust has broken down.”
In the end, Formby sent the irate MPs a letter listing the following data (courtesy of Sky News):
Of 673 complaints between April 2018 and January 2019, 211 were investigated and a further 96 cases saw members immediately suspended.
In 146 less serious cases, members were given a written warning and in 220 there was not sufficient evidence of a breach of party rules to proceed with an investigation.
The Labour National Executive Committee (NEC) anti-Semitism disputes panel has reached decisions on 96 of the cases where notices of investigation or suspensions were applied.
In a further 44 cases, individuals left the party after being presented with evidence of their anti-Semitism; 16 were issued formal warnings; 25 received first written warnings; 6 were referred for further investigation and seven had no further action taken.
Another 42 were referred to the next stage of the complaints process, the independent National Constitutional Committee, which expelled 12 members and imposed other sanctions on six more.
Labour received another 433 complaints about people who turned out not to be in the party at all.
Formby also wrote the MPs: “I totally reject the suggestion that the existence of anti-Semitism in our party is a smear. I have seen hard evidence of it and that is why I have been so determined to do whatever is possible to eliminate it from the party. It is also the reason why I made it a priority to implement robust procedures to deal with it whenever it is identified.”