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Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Labour peer Baroness Royall blasts party's anti-Semitism disciplinary verdict

Posted On: 
18th January 2017

A senior Labour peer has hit out at the party’s decision not to take action against two Oxford University students accused of anti-Semitism. 

Labour peer Baroness RoyallBaroness Royall led a review into the allegations last year
PA Images

Baroness Royall also said the move "doesn't bode well" for the outcome of disciplinary proceedings against Ken Livingstone, who was suspended by Labour last year over comments he made about Adolf Hitler.

The senior peer - Labours former leader in the Lords - headed up  a review last year into alleged cases of discrimination against Jewish students at the university’s Labour club.

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Her investigation found there was a “cultural problem” which meant some Jewish members were uncomfortable attending meetings but concluded that there was no evidence that the club was “institutionally anti-Semitic”.

Two members of the club were subject to disciplinary procedures, but Labour’s disputes committee decided yesterday not to take further action - despite a recommendation by party bosses that they should be given warnings.

Baroness Royall today said that had confirmed the view that Labour does not “take anti-Semitism seriously”.

Speaking to Jewish News, she said: “I am deeply disappointed by the outcome and fear that it will further harm relations between the Jewish community and our party by confirming a widely held view that we do not take anti-Semitism seriously.

“It also doesn’t bode well for the outcome of the ongoing inquiry into Ken Livingstone’s behaviour.”

Mr Livingstone, the former mayor of London, was suspended after saying Adolf Hitler had supported Zionism “before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews".

Baroness Royall was asked to investigate claims, made by Oxford University’s Jewish society, that some Labour students sang offensive songs, used terms such as “Zio” and expressed support for Palestinian terror group Hamas’ assaults on Israeli civilians.

Alex Chalmers quit as co-chair of the Oxford University Labour Club, claiming some of its members “have some kind of problem with Jews".

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