It is worthwhile looking at the figures from Jennie Formby’s letter in more detail (available as PDF here and here) because they show just how few cases are being upheld – and not because the investigators are soft on anti-Semitism, but because the cases are so weak. We also learn a bit more about Labour’s disciplinary process.
- The number of staff in the governance and legal unit (GLU) dealing with all disciplinary investigations “will increase from five to 11”. This is the first point of contact once a complaint has been received.
- Since April 2018, complaints have been recorded as anti-Semitic, “irrespective of the evidence, in line with the Macpherson principle”. Formby states that before then no such records were kept. To our knowledge, while many members were certainly charged with anti- Semitism, and often publicly so, very few were disciplined for that offence – instead being suspended and expelled under the catch-all rule of “bringing the party into disrepute” (eg, Marc Wadsworth and Tony Greenstein).
- The GLU whittled down the 1,106 complaints to 673 that were actually concerning members – and then dismissed another 220 cases outright, where there was “no sufficient evidence of a breach of party rules”. In other words, they were vexatious and false complaints. That took the total down to 453.
- These 453 cases were passed on to the ‘NEC anti-Semitism panel’, made up of three out of the “10 or so specifically trained” NEC members. The names of the 10 are not publicly available – but we know that Darren Williams, a leftwinger on the NEC, tried to get onto this panel, but was outvoted. We can therefore deduce that this is not a group of people who could be charged with being too leftwing.
- This NEC anti-Semitism panel then decides if the person should merely receive a ‘reminder of conduct’ (146 cases), be put under investigation (211) or be immediately suspended before the investigation begins (96 cases – we believe that this practice, like automatic expulsions, has now almost ceased). So we are now down to 307 complaints that might have something to them.
- Of these 307, the NEC anti- Semitism panel ruled on 96 members’ cases: 48 members had their cases closed at this stage, receiving a “formal NEC warning” or a “reminder of conduct”. That leaves 259 members.
- 42 of those have been referred to the national constitutional committee (dominated by the right), which has so far expelled 12 members and sanctioned six, while five others have left the party. The remaining 19 cases are still ongoing, including that against Jackie Walker, whose NCC hearing takes place on March 26-27.
- What about the remaining 217 members? We learn that 44 members accused have left the party, about 90 are “recent complaints” and have not yet been investigated. Which leaves about 83 members “where the investigation revealed evidence that meant the case could not be pursued further”. In other words, they were found innocent of the charge of anti-Semitism.