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Labour suspends Jeremy Corbyn

Aaron Chown/PA Wire/PA Images

Labour suspends Jeremy Corbyn

Labour has suspended Jeremy Corbyn, pending an investigation, after the former leader responded to a new report on anti-Semitism in the party to claim the issue had been "dramatically overstated".

The comments followed the release of a new report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), which warned of “serious failings” in Labour’s response to complaints of anti-Semitism, concluding that the party had been "responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination".

The EHRC found Labour responsible for three breaches of the Equality Act 2010, relating to political interference in anti-Semitism complaints, a failure to provide adequate training to those handling anti-Semitism complaints, and harassment.

The report also found evidence of political interference in the complaints process, with 23 instances of “inappropriate involvement by the Leader of the Opposition’s Office”.

It has made a series of recommendations, which if Labour does not draft an action plan to implement by 10 December are legally enforceable by the courts, meaning they could face further legal action.

But while Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer promised to implement the report’s recommendations in full, former leader Jeremy Corbyn rejected some of the report’s findings and claimed the issue had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons” by his critics.

Corbyn said: “I am proud to be a member of the Labour Party, I joined the Labour Party when I was 16, I’ve fought racism all my life, and I’ll fight racism for the rest of my life.”

But Labour then responded by suspending Corbyn, pending an investigation, and removed the whip.

A party spokesman said: "In light of his comments made today and his failure to retract them subsequently, the Labour Party has suspended Jeremy Corbyn pending investigation. He has also had the whip removed from the Parliamentary Labour Party."

Meanwhile Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard described the failings set out in the report as “a matter of deep regret” and backed the decision to implement its recommendations in full.

He said: “This report will be a saddening and sobering read for everyone in the Labour Party and everyone who is committed to eliminating anti-Semitism, racism and hatred from our society. It sets out a series of failures which are a matter of deep regret, for me and for everyone in our party. Keir Starmer has made crystal clear this morning that our party will accept the report’s findings and implement its recommendations in full, and that is the right thing to do.

“All of us have a duty to root out anti-Semitism wherever it exists, and that doesn’t stop at this report – we need to remain vigilant against the evil of anti-Semitism in our society. We must work tirelessly with the Jewish community to rebuild trust. We also have a responsibility to further educate our members and society at large on anti-Semitism and how to fight it.”

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