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“The work of the Labour Party's Governance and
Legal Unit in relation to antisemitism, 2014 – 2019
The Labour Party
LABOUR's leaked report on Anti-Semitism, with special reference to the Joseph Ejiofor-led Haringey Council Cabinet ~
THE leaking—from a part of the Labour Party—of an 851-page multi-month investigation into anti-Semitism (AS), would ordinarily be national news for weeks.
In the current CoViD-19 crisis environment, understandably this was not news for long and the new Leader of the Labour Party quickly announced an enquiry into the investigation, including how it came to be leaked. The report however, is now effectively in the public domain.
Apart from five pages about an internal Haringey Labour Party matter that was already public knowledge, there is nothing else concerning Haringey. Remarkably, there is not the slightest hint about the complaint or the investigation into a matter that attracted national attention, relating to the leadership of the UK's first Momentum Council:
A Complaint in July 2019 by the Council's Deputy Leader (Cllr. Zena Brabazon), about Cabinet Member Cllr. Gideon Bull, was first reported in The Jewish Chronicle in August 2019.
It concerned an incident in a private, pre-Cabinet meeting, held on council premises and chaired by the Council Leader Joseph Ejiofor. Not all Cabinet Members may have been present, however the full Cabinet comprises councillors:
Cllr. Brabazon had previously denied there was a problem of AS within the Party. Therefore, any later Complaint from her about AS ought to have been taken especially seriously, not least because it involved an elected Labour Councillor and Member of a Labour Cabinet.
Cllr Bull's status and experience ought to have put him beyond reproach. On page 756 of the AS report, the following is referenced, from page one of the Shami Chakrabarti Inquiry: ~
The exhaustive AS report is excruciatingly detailed and yet, there is not one word about the Cllr Bull episode that involved the shouting of "Shylock" and/or "pound of flesh" at the sole Jewish Councillor present. (There is also no reference to multiple complaints involving a hard-left, serving Haringey councillor, with previous form.)
FOR THE FEW, NOT THE MANY
The absence of any reference—in Labour's huge AS investigation—to the circumstances of Cllr Brabazon's complaint, appears intended so as to avoid further enquiry or embarrassment: not only to the UK's first Momentum Council in general, but in particular to the ability, judgement and competence of its Leader, a high-ranking Momentum official.
Given that this unseemly row occurred in the private pre-meet, a competent chair might have asked all but the two parties directly concerned, to leave the room and then required the offending person to make an immediate full apology. Had that happened, it might well have been an end of the matter.
Instead, it dragged on, eventually culminating in November with Cllr Bull's withdrawal from the General Election as Parliamentary Candidate in Clacton. Plus, his nonsensical excuses at the time that only dug him in deeper. Cllr Bull claimed implausibly that he did not know that "Shylock" was anti-Semitic, but he did admit to using the term. Gideon Bull's withdrawal attracted much publicity and helped to damage his Party's electoral prospects.
While there is evidence of Cllr Bull having claimed to apologise to Cllr Brabazon, there is no evidence of an actual apology. There is proof of Cllr Bull's apology to Clacton residents and to the Clacton Labour Party … but provocatively—and almost ostentatiously—to no one else.
Leadership is the seventh and last of the Nolan Principles of good governance, that states,
The Council Leader appears to have singularly failed to challenge the conduct of Cllr. Bull.
The explanation for Joseph Ejiofor's lack of intervention is likely to be his lack of competence. Or, his animosity to Cllr Brabazon may have caused him not to reprimand his ultra-loyal comrade, Cllr Bull, as Bull hurled the slur. Or both. It may be recalled that Ejiofor had earlier sacked Cllr Brabazon from the Cabinet on New Year's Eve, 2018.
The long textual AS report is in Portable Document Format (pdf).
The Properties Menu discloses the Author as Harry Hayball. While that could be spoofed, given that there are no fewer than 46 references to Mr Hayball in the report, plus his role and titles within Momentum, it seems likely that he was in fact the author.
Did word get back from Momentum Haringey to the author of the AS report, that no reference should be made to any of this? Or did national Momentum contact the local representatives?
What contact, if any, was there between (a) local Momentum and (b) national Momentum … with a view to suppressing mention of matters complained of in a pre-Cabinet meeting, chaired by Momentum's NCG (National Co-ordinating Group) member, Joseph Ejiofor?
Could it be, that what is not in Labour's AS report is at least as significant as what is in it?
One hopes that the current enquiry will not attempt to draw a veil over this aspect.
Inspector Gregory: Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?
Sherlock Holmes: To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.
Inspector Gregory: The dog did nothing in the night-time.
Sherlock Holmes: That was the curious incident.
From Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's,
The Adventure of Silver Blaze
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SINCE the leaking of the report, the Labour Party has settled with a group of Whistleblowers who had criticised the then leadership's handling of complaints.
In a BBC Panorama programme, a number of former party officials alleged that senior figures close to the leadership at the time had interfered in the process of dealing with anti-Semitism complaints.
Yesterday (24 July 2020), the Jewish Chronicle reported the comments on the report by the Labour Party's most senior lawyer.