The U.K. Labour Party has suspended its former leader, Jeremy Corbyn after a watchdog report found that the party failed to properly take action against allegations of anti-Semitism during his time in charge.
Why it matters: It represents a strong break by Keir Starmer, Labour’s current leader, from the Corbyn era and one of the party’s most persistent scandals.
The state of play: The U.K.’s Equality and Human Rights Commission found that Labour was “responsible for unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination” linked to anti-Semitism, per the BBC.
- Its report found “a culture within the party which, at best, did not do enough to prevent anti-Semitism and, at worst, could be seen to accept it.”
- It also found that Corbyn’s office had “politically interfered” on 23 separate occasions regarding the anti-Semitism complaints.
What happened: After the report’s release, Starmer caller it “a day of shame for the Labour Party” and vowed to implement a “culture change.”
- Corbyn issued a statement saying that “the scale of the problem was … dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media.”
- Labour then announced Corbyn’s suspension, pending investigation, “in light of his comments made today and his failure to retract them.”
- Corbyn vowed to “strongly contest” his suspension.
The backdrop: Beyond Labour’s wider anti-Semitism issues, Corbyn became personally involved in the scandal in 2018 when it emerged that he had expressed support for a London mural that featured a host of anti-Semitic tropes in a 2012 Facebook comment.
- The furor expanded amid the discovery of Corbyn’s membership in multiple Facebook groups that feature virulently anti-Semitic posts.