The basis in which the Equality and Human Rights Commission said the Labour Party committed unlawful harassment of Jewish people has been undermined after a court challenge was settled.
The Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report on anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, when it finally appeared in late October 2020, stated that it could find only two instances in which Labour members had broken the law – involving Ken Livingstone and Pam Bromley.
Mr Livingstone and Ms Bromley launched a judicial review of this finding in January 2021 – and that has now been settled out of court in a humiliating climbdown, not only for the EHRC but for the Labour Party and so-called charity the Campaign Against Antisemitism.
You see, it was the EHRC that made the offer for a settlement.
Here’s the Morning Star:
The two politicians accepted a deal offered by the EHRC, in which each side withdraws from the case and bears its own costs.
Mr Livingstone and Ms Bromley said in response to the settlement offer: “We believe that, deep down, the EHRC understands that its investigation was flawed and that it acted unlawfully.
“That’s probably why they were willing to settle the case without recovering a penny of their exorbitant costs.”
[They said:] “We were worried that the purpose and effect of the EHRC report would be to shut down criticism of Israel by giving credence to false accusations of anti-semitism.
“Rather than fighting this case for potentially another year or more, we believe we need to refocus our resources on tackling the Israel lobby’s current efforts to stifle pro-Palestine speech in schools, universities and other sectors.”
It is understood the EHRC legal costs were over £215,000, while the Labour Party and the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) also spent tens of thousands of pounds in legal fees.
Mr Livingstone’s and Ms Bromley’s costs amounted to £35,000 and were funded from a fighting fund established at the end of 2019 by former Labour MP Chris Williamson from the costs he won from the Labour Party.
The EHRC has said that it stands by its report.
But it is a claim that doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. If the EHRC was so sure its investigation and the report that followed it was correct, then why make an offer to settle the matter before any of the evidence has been heard?
Why deny the Labour Party – and the Campaign Against Antisemitism, that got involved for reasons that escape This Writer – the opportunity even to have their say?
If you’re sure of your facts, then wouldn’t the only reason you’d withdraw from a court case be if you could extract a statement from the other side that they were wrong?
That clearly hasn’t happened.
Draw your own conclusions.
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