Labour appoints former QC to head leaked anti-Semitism report inquiry

PUBLISHED: 17:56 01 May 2020 | UPDATED: 17:56 01 May 2020

Sir Keir Starmer's statement on new lockdown measures will be aired on BBC One and BBC Radio 4. Photograph: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

Sir Keir Starmer's statement on new lockdown measures will be aired on BBC One and BBC Radio 4. Photograph: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

HOC/JESSICA TAYLOR

Sir Keir Starmer has appointed Martin Forde QC as head of an inquiry into a leaked report on anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

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Forde, a barrister and independent adviser to the Windrush compensation scheme, will investigate how a report revealing anti-Semitism issues within Labour was leaked in April.

He will lead a panel of experts consisting of former Labour general secretary Larry Whitty, councillor Debbie Wilcox and social policy professor Ruth Lister, who are all Labour peers.

The investigation is expected to conclude in July when Forde presents his findings to Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC).

A Labour spokesman said: “The NEC has appointed Martin Forde to chair the independent investigation into the circumstances, contents and release of an internal report.

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“Forde will be supported by a panel of three experts who have expertise in the law and the Labour Party’s structures.”

The leaked report is seen as Starmer’s first test as Labour leader to reunite the party following years of infighting and a calamitous election result in December 2019.

The report found that there was “no evidence” of anti-Semitism complaints being handled differently and blamed a “factional opposition” for the issue ballooning in the media.

During Jeremy Corbyn’s reign as Labour leader, the party had been accused of not taking anti-semitism complaints seriously and of softening its discipline of MPs who openly held anti-Semitic views.

Corbyn’s allies say the findings vindicate the former leader, claiming elements of the party had actively worked to undermine his leadership.

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