THE racist, sexist and otherwise discriminatory culture in Britain’s Labour Party is undermining its efforts to promote itself as a trailblazer on diversity and inclusion, a damning report has said.
It added that antisemitism was treated as a ‘factional weapon’ by both supporters and opponents of former leader Jeremy Corbyn in senior party positions.
The Forde report published on Tuesday (19) looked into the management practices of the party.
The inquiry chaired by barrister Martin Forde said a factional conflict between the left and the right of the party had reached a level of intensity not seen prior to Corbyn’s leadership between 2015 and 2020.
The report was commissioned by Labour leader Keir Starmer following the leaking of an internal party document that reviewed its handling of antisemitism complaints in April 2020.
The leaking of the document is the subject of an ongoing inquiry by the Information Commissioner’s Office. Many individuals named in the report have also taken legal action against Labour, The Independent reported. It contained private WhatsApp messages sent by senior staff in Labour headquarters.
According to the report, the leaked document had been compiled by inexperienced authors without any supervision from more senior staff. The report also criticised the party’s management practices, recruitment policies and disciplinary procedures.
The report also revealed that party members complained that racism, sexism and Islamophobia were not taken seriously within the party on a local or national level.
The report called on Labour to address concerns about both antisemitism and Islamophobia through a “broader ethical anti-racism training programme alongside education on other protected characteristics”.
It also accepted the conclusions of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) investigation which said in October 2020 that there was an improper involvement of Corbyn’s office in a number of high-profile antisemitism cases.
“Racism in the party is not experienced by individuals solely through acts of aggression or microaggression – it is experienced through seeing colleagues being passed over for promotion, being the only person from an ethnic minority background around the meeting table, being managed by a near-exclusively white management team; and hearing the particular disdain which colleagues reserve for ethnic minority MPs, councillors and CLP members,” the report stated.
A Labour party spokesperson has said that the party has made real progress in ridding the party of the destructive factionalism and unacceptable culture that contributed to its defeat in 2019.