Local Labour members including MPs and councillors past and present have formed a group to fight anti-Semitism in the Brighton and Hove Labour party.
Hove MP Peter Kyle and city councillors Dan Yates, Tracey Hill, Carmen Appich and Chris Henry are among those signing up to the Labour Members Together group.
The group was set up some weeks ago but officially launched last night, just after a BBC Panorama programme which aired interviews with eight former staffers who spoke about failings in how anti-Semitism is tackled by the party, alleging political interference from the leader’s office.
Labour Members Together is calling for a politically independent complaints procedure to stamp out anti-Semitic activity within its ranks.
It also says a series of anti-Semitic incidents in Brighton and Hove – including a Labour candidate in the local elections sharing anti-Semitic posts on social media and another member who urged activists to march on a local synagogue – has damaged the party’s reputation as an anti-racist party.
Former councillor Emma Daniel, lead for Labour Members Together said: “Enough is enough. Tackling bigotry and discrimination is at the core of what the Labour Party is all about.
“But the fact that the party in our wonderfully tolerant city has caused untold distress to our Jewish community shows something has gone seriously wrong. That’s why we need a new independent complaints procedure to tackle the issue once and for all, and to win back trust.”
The new group also includes former leader of Brighton and Hove Council Steve Bassam, former Hove MP Ivor Caplin and former Pavilion MP David Lepper.
Labour Members Together says it wants to make it easier to expel such members from the Party and prevent those who’ve been suspended from attending meetings and events. A new complaints procedure would also lead to the expulsion of members who harass anyone who makes a complaint about antisemitic behaviour, which has also occurred locally.
The group is asking all members of the Labour Party in Brighton and Hove to sign up to support its ten point plan for tackling antisemitism in the Labour Party at both local and national level.
This includes placing a requirement on the three constituency Labour parties in the city to be briefed on antisemitism and the importance of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism.
Labour Together will also be sending its demands to Jennie Formby, the Labour Party’s general secretary, once local members have had an opportunity to sign up.
The ten points are:
1) Work for an independent complaints procedure free from political interference.
2) Seek the expulsion of any individual knowingly supporting or sharing a platform with members suspended or expelled for anti-Semitism.
3) Keep people safe by changing the rules to prevent those suspended for any type of harassment from attending Labour meetings of any type including branch meetings and social events arranged to raise funds for or promote the Labour Party.
4) Seek the expulsion of those attempting to influence victims of harassment or witnesses through social or print media into withdrawing their complaints, or for encouraging others to victimise them.
5) Ensure that complainants who are the victims of incidents, including via digital channels, are updated at least fortnightly on the progress and outcomes of their complaints. Where victims are not the complainant they should be made aware that a third party has complained and provided with updates.
6) Fully assist the EHRC enquiry into antisemitism by providing evidence of the numerous incidents within our local party.
7) Adopt a zero tolerance policy for the dissemination and sharing of antisemitic material on social media and all communications platforms.
8) Require all three Brighton and Hove CLPs to receive training on antisemitism, to be provided by organisations which have the confidence of the local Jewish community.
9) Send out information on eradicating antisemitism to all members based on Labour’s code of conduct and the IHRA definition, as agreed by Labour’s NEC in 2018.
10) Ensure that the IHRA definition of antisemitism (and its examples) signed up to by the Labour Party and the Macpherson principles, which define racist incidents as those which are perceived as such by the victim or any other person, are used as benchmarks when evaluating cases of antisemitism.