According to the Labour Party, these are the figures on anti-Semitism by members since January:
Between January and June 2019, Labour received 625 complaints about members relating to anti-Semitism, and a further 658 complaints about people who weren’t in the party.
So Labour received more complaints about anti-Semitism by people who weren’t even members than it did about members themselves. What happened? Has Margaret Hodge been submitting complaints again?
[The National Executive Committee] referred 97 members to the National Constitutional Committee [which has power to suspend or expel offenders] over their cases, handed out 41 official warnings and a further 49 “reminders of conduct”.
So cases proceeded in 187 out of 625 cases – less than one-third of the total number of complaints. That’s right – 438 party members were found innocent of any wrongdoing, instantly.
And over those six months, the NCC expelled eight people, gave out three extended suspensions, and issued four warnings.
Another 12 members left the party after being referred to the NCC, and one member’s case was unproven.
We cannot assume that the 28 people mentioned above were among the 97 referred by the NEC. I’m willing to be the “unproven” case involved a member who brought a lawyer.
So, out of 187 people about whom Labour’s disputes team decided there was a case to answer, anything between 69 and 97 cases remain to be closed.
You can understand why Jeremy Corbyn was keen to announce that the process would be expedited, in the face of those numbers.
There’s just one problem:
Labour is still ignoring the main principle of British justice – all 97 of those members are innocent until they are proven guilty by the evidence.
And Labour has a real problem with that.
See, if a member produces evidence to show that they didn‘t do anything anti-Semitic, it is not acceptable for NCC panels – even (especially) those chaired by Maggie Cousins – to reject that evidence out-of-hand.
If the member’s evidence outweighs that of the party – or the party’s representative cannot argue against it – then that member is innocent.
And no, Mr Corbyn – if the evidence is in favour of the member, it is not acceptable for your NCC to say “someone was offended by it” and expel the member on the trumped-up, nonsensical and meaningless charge of “bringing the party into disrepute”.
Trouble is, though, every case that goes up to the NCC has a note on it from the NEC, ordering the panel to find the defendant guilty. I know because I’ve been through the process and seen the paperwork.
What I’m saying is that on anti-Semitism, Jeremy Corbyn has let down the Labour Party yet again.
It is his only significant failure – but it is huge.
And how sad that the right-wingers in his party – and the right-wingers in the mass media – will pretend that he is letting the party down by failing to punish the nonexistent huge proportion of anti-Semites in the party.