Indian-origin economist, author and peer Lord Meghnad Desai has resigned as a member of the UK’s Opposition Labour Party after 49 years of being a part of it. Lord Desai has said that he took this decision due to the failure of the Labour Party to tackle racism and antisemitism within its rank and the manner in which Jeremy Corbyn was re-admitted into the party only 19 days after he was suspended over allegations of racism and his involvement in illegal activities.
Lord Meghnath Desai said that though he has been a Labour Party supporter for 49 years, he took the decision to cancel the primary membership of the party after former party leader Jeremy Corbyn was readmitted after just 19 days of suspension despite findings of “unlawful acts” by the country’s human rights watchdog.
“It was a very peculiar decision to allow him back without any apology. He has been refused the party whip in the House of Commons for a few months, but that is a very lame response to a very big crisis,” Lord Desai said.
“I have been very uncomfortable and slightly ashamed that the party has been injected with this sort of racism. Jewish MPs were abused openly, and female members were trolled. It is out and out racism,” he said.
Suspension of Corbyn from the Labour Party over allegations of racism and illegal activity in dealing with antisemitism complains
On the 30th of October, Former leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, was suspended by the party following comments he made on a damning report on the pervasive problem of antisemitism within the party. He has vowed to challenge the suspension. The suspension has the potential to ignite a civil war within the Labour Party with allies of Jeremy Corbyn rushing to his defence.
The report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) claimed that the Labour Party broke the law in three areas while dealing with complaints of antisemitism. The three areas included political interference in antisemitism complaints, failure to provide adequate training to those handling antisemitism complaints and harassment of those who complained.
The EHRC has served an unlawful act notice to the Labour Party. The Commission can recommend any actions to avoid the actions from being repeated in the future. The report said that the Commission had found 23 instances of political interference by the office of Jeremy Corbyn in the 70 cases that it looked into.
The EHRC’s lead investigator, Alasdair Henderson said that the buck stops with Jeremy Corbyn. “As the leader of the party at the time, and given the extent of the failings we found in the political interference within the leader of the opposition’s office, Jeremy Corbyn is ultimately accountable and responsible for what happened at that time,” Henderson said.
The Jewish Labour Movement (JLM), stated that the blame “lies firmly with those who held positions of leadership – those who possessed both power and influence to prevent the growth of anti-Jewish racism”. The JLM was one of the groups that initially referred the party to the EHRC. The chief executive of Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAM), another such party, Gideon Falter, said, “The EHRC’s report utterly vindicates Britain’s Jews, who were accused of lying and exaggerating, acting as agents of another country and using their religion to ‘smear’ the Labour party.”
Jeremy Corbyn re-admitted into the Labour Party only days after his suspension
On the 18th of November, the Labour Party re-admitted Jeremy Corbyn who was earlier suspended over grave allegations of illegality in dealing with complaints of antisemitism. He was suspended after saying the scale of anti-Semitism in the party had been “overstated”, in response to the report by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission.
The decision by Keir Starmer to re-admit the racist former chief Jeremy Corbyn was met by stiff opposition by several MPs of the Labour Party. In response to the criticism where MPs said that the decision ‘flies in the face of natural justice’, Starmer said that Corbyn’s Labour Party whip would remain suspended for 3 months.
According to a Guardian report, Nick Brown, wrote to Corbyn on Thursday saying the whip had been withdrawn for three months – suspending him from the parliamentary Labour party – pending an investigation into whether he had broken the PLP code of conduct. BBC has reported that the lawyers of Jeremy Corbyn are all set to challenge the suspension of the whip after he was re-admitted to the party.