Starmer calls for a line to be drawn under anti-Semitism as Corbyn calls whistleblower settlement ‘disappointing’

Labour leader Keir Starmer. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA.

Labour leader Keir Starmer. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA. - Credit: PA

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said he wants to 'draw a line' under anti-Semitism, but his predecessor has claimed it is 'disappointing' the party settled a claim with whistleblowers behind a Panorama programme investigating the matter.

Labour said it will pay 'substantial damages' to whistleblowers who contributed to a TV expose of its handling of anti-Semitism.

Sir Keir said: 'I want to draw a line under anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

'I made it clear that we would draw a line under anti-Semitism. Settling this case was important in that respect.

'It was the right decision, the right thing to do.'

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The decision to pay damages sparked a spat between Sir Keir and Corbyn.

Corbyn said on Wednesday it was 'disappointing' the party had settled the claim, claiming it was a 'political decision, not a legal one'.

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He said: 'The decision to settle these claims in this way is disappointing, and risks giving credibility to misleading and inaccurate allegations about action taken to tackle anti-Semitism in the Labour Party in recent years.'

Seven former employees from the party's governance and legal unit, who were responsible for the investigation of allegations of misconduct by party members, sued Labour after it issued a press release describing them as having 'personal and political axes to grind'.

The Jewish Labour Movement said: 'It is a sad reflection of its historic role as the party of working people that Labour sought to pursue and silence its former employees for speaking out against racism.'

Labour's handling of anti-Semitism allegations under Corbyn's leadership is the subject of an inquiry by the Equality and Human Rights Commission – and Sir Keir has already received a draft report from the watchdog.

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