What’s the problem with putting Shami Chakrabarti in the House of Lords?

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with Shami Chakrabarti. She was Labour's only nomination to David Cameron's Resignation Honours list [Image: Getty].

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with Shami Chakrabarti. She was Labour’s only nomination to David Cameron’s Resignation Honours list [Image: Getty].

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”.

Source: Chakrabarti peerage timing a mistake, says Watson – BBC News

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8 thoughts on “What’s the problem with putting Shami Chakrabarti in the House of Lords?

  1. hayfords

    Not just Jewish groups who are unhappy with the coincidence between the surprising anti-Semitism whitewash and the peerage.

  2. Nick Fourbanks

    The house of lords should only be for the likes of Shami Chakrabarti in the first place. The house of lords should never be for a retired mp or minister or indeed anyone unless they were distinguished in their field of work with a long proven track record

  3. John

    I agree with what you say and believe Watson and others should consider what an asset she would be to the Labour leadership team with her unparalleled knowledge of human rights legislation in the UK and internationally, as well as her in-depth knowledge of the actual processes of achieving and securing human rights for all.
    The hysterical reaction of the Board of Deputies can be dismissed for the nonsense it is. After all, who do they represent and what kind of mandate do they possess?
    If they don’t like having to answer such questions, they should stay out of politics.

    1. Roy Beiley

      Too true John. Politics and Religion are a lethal cocktail which distorts the thinking of otherwise intelligent people. The constant references to antisemitism within the Labour Party is beginning to worry me that not only is there a right wing element trying to distort democracy but a more sinister, unelected group of Jewish sympathizers who are equally intent on interfering in the course of democratic politics without being accountable to any overt organization. All because Jeremy Corbyn had the balls to say that the Jewish/ Palestinian problem would only be sorted out when the two sides put aside their warmongering postures and talked their way to a peaceful settlement. Can they not learn from the Northern Ireland Peace Process which though not perfect has at least set out a pathway which avoids military conflict.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        I think you need to be more specific than just referring to “Jewish” sympathisers. Not all Jews agree with this behaviour.

  4. Roland Laycock

    Nice one Jeremy and you are right in your assessment, the House of Lords should be replacement with a democratically elected assembly and not one for the old boys

  5. mohandeer

    Sour grapes? Try racism or false allegations of racism. It’s Bad to make comments about Jews but good to make slurs against Ms. Chakrabarti, especially if you are Jewish?
    When did this country operate a double standard where minorities are concerned?
    Either we have zero tolerance to racism – irrespective of who or what – or we don’t.
    The Jewish people are a minority group just like the Poles, Muslims and Hindustani, we should not be giving ANY of them special treatment or favouring one minority over another. End of, as far as I am concerned.
    If Ms. Chakrabarti is not a committed socialist then why can’t she receive a peerage?
    I’m not a socialist but I support Corbyn, why do we all have to be socialists to want Corbyn for leader?
    It would be really good to have Ms. Chakrabarti as a peer even if the Labour Party at some point in the future elects to remove the peerage system. Is Tom Watson a socialist for voting to renew the Trident system? That’s what Owen Smith wants. Shall we all be dictated to yet again by the Labour Party on whether or not we want nuclear warheads parked in our navy? Or will we be given a referendum?
    Tom Watson should really think before he opens his trap.

Comments are closed.