Tom Watson’s doubts about the nomination of Shami Chakrabarti for a peerage seem off-colour.
He said her nomination for a peerage as part of David Cameron’s resignation honours list, because he doesn’t agree with the practice, and that’s a principled position to take.
But Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t approve of the system either. He is simply taking advantage of it to put somebody in the Lords whose skills will be useful there.
She would also work towards replacing the Upper House with a democratically-elected assembly – something Mr Watson should applaud after he said, “I don’t want laws to be made in the chamber of David Cameron’s friends.”
The issue of Jewish groups questioning her nomination so soon after clearing Labour of any institutionalised anti-Semitism, Islamophobia or racism is easily dismissed as sour grapes.
Ms Chakrabarti didn’t say what they wanted? That’s too bad. But it is no reason to suggest a lack of integrity, especially without evidence.
Perhaps Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and Gillian Merron, chief executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, would like to show the factual basis behind their claims that her report’s “credibility lies in tatters” and is a “whitewash”.
If not, This Writer has no doubt that Labour may have no problem extracting an apology through the courts. Ms Chakrabarti is, after all, an accomplished barrister.
Labour’s deputy leader has said it was a “mistake” for the party to nominate Shami Chakrabarti for a peerage as part of David Cameron’s resignation honours.
Tom Watson, who had called for Labour to boycott the process, told the BBC he had not been consulted about the move.
Some Jewish groups have questioned her peerage, so soon after she chaired an inquiry into anti-Semitism in Labour.
But Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn defended his decision, hailing her as “brilliant” and “fiercely independent”.
He said she would “make a great contribution to the House of Lords” because of her skills as an advocate and because “she’s committed to the abolition of the House of Lords and replacement with a democratically elected assembly – otherwise I wouldn’t have dreamt of supporting her nomination”.
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