Following the publication of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) Report into Antisemitism in the Labour Party, the Co-operative Party has pledged its support for Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner.
Labour and the Co-operative are sister parties, having formed an electoral agreement in 1927, which allows candidates to stand as Labour and Co-operative in all elections. Currently, there are 26 MPs, hundreds of councillors and many representatives in devolved parliaments who sit as Labour and Co-operative.
“The publication of the EHRC’s report into the Labour Party must prove a turning point in the fight against antisemitism,” said Jim McMahon, chair of the Party’s national executive committee (NEC). “Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner have pledged to tackle antisemitism within the party, and they have our full support in doing so.
“We cannot underestimate the pain that so many Jewish supporters, members or representatives of the Labour Party have felt in recent years. The report makes clear that only determined change will fix this problem, and that work must begin without delay.”
A statement from the Co-op Party added: “Due to the unique and enduring relationship between the Labour and Co-operative Parties, we commit to working together so that both our parties are free from antisemitism.” In 2018 it agreed a set of actions “to ensure that there is no place for anti-Semitism in the Co-operative Party”.
In 2019, five Labour/Co-op MPs quit the Labour Party over its handling of allegations of antisemitism: Luciana Berger, Dame Louise Ellman, Mike Gapes, Gavin Shuker and Chris Leslie. At the time she left Ms Berger, who is Jewish, accused the party of fostering “a culture of bullying, bigotry and intimidation”.
Responding to the report’s findings she said in a statement: “I welcome the EHRC’s recommendations, and the commitment today from Labour’s new leader Keir Starmer, to implement them urgently and in full. There needs to be a complete overhaul of the party’s governance structures, so that no-one will ever be discriminated against or harassed again because of factional control of the party’s mechanisms. I hope to see decisive leadership in the coming weeks and months.”
The report was published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, a non-departmental public body with responsibility for the promotion and enforcement of equality and non-discrimination laws in England, Scotland and Wales.
The Commission said it had found “significant failings” in the way the Labour party handled antisemitism complaints over the last four years, including “specific examples of harassment, discrimination and political interference”. The report argues the party, which at the time was led by Mr Corbyn, failed to provide leadership on the issue. The full report is available here.
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has been suspended from the party, pending an investigation “in light of his comments” in response to the report.