The Labour Party publishes the unpublishable

JVL Introduction

Another big victory in the campaign to get justice for Party members victimised by its arbitrary and fundamentally unfair procedures.

Having wasted £75,000 of members’ monies trying to halt the progress of the case being brought by LA4J the Party has now published a secret Code of conduct on antisemitism it was applying but which it did not provide to accused members. [See The Labour Party Complaint Handling Handbook, pp. 15-21]

And, the secret Code turns out to be the same Code slammed as being antisemitic when it was introduced by the NEC under Corbyn to attempt to bring some clarity to the IHRA in 2018, but we are not aware of any objection since its recent publication under Starmer.

Now, more than ever, we need your financial help to bring these cases to a successful conclusion.

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If you read the comments below you will see that many people are asking where they can find the Code on conduct.

It is to be found – as we say above – here in The Labour Party Complaint Handling Handbook, pp. 15-21]

Labour Action 4 Justice, Case Updates, 7 April 2021

In an apparent attempt to pre-empt an imminent High Court hearing, the Labour Party has this week published a previously secret Code of Conduct that it uses for judging members accused of antisemitism.  

One aspect of our claim concerned the use by the Party of a secret – unpublished – code of conduct to judge antisemitism cases; a code which accused members could not access and so use in their defence and which the Party repeatedly refused to publish. 

In a preliminary hearing in the High Court in February, we won our arguments about how the case should proceed and had our costs awarded against the Party for that hearing.   Last week, just over a month the later, the Party released the secret code that formed a central part of the claim. It had been withheld because of the way it was received when it was first published. As the Party’s lawyer Alex Barros-Curtis said in a submission to the High Court, it was regarded as ‘incendiary’.  As a result, complainants have been denied the opportunity to understand the Party’s approach to antisemitism before making complaints and respondents have been denied the opportunity to make submissions on it.

When the code first appeared in 2018 under Corbyn, it, and he, were heavily criticised for being antisemitic by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Community Security Trust, the Campaign Against Antisemitism, and Labour Party affiliate the Jewish Labour Movement – along with the Guardian.  It was assumed to have been withdrawn once the Party adopted the IHRA working definition. That turns out not to have been the case.

It appears the code has been being used to decide which antisemitism complaints to pursue, and to judge those complaints, since September 2018.  As far as we are aware there have been no accusations of antisemitism against the Party itself following the publication of the Code last week under Keir Starmer, unlike the response in 2018 when Corbyn was leader.

Diana Neslen, an 81 year-old orthodox Jew accused of antisemitism by the party, and one of the LA4J, said ‘I’m very pleased that the party has now published this secret code. Even a quick look at it suggests that all of us have been wrongfully accused, indeed we should never have been investigated in the first place. But there are still all the other issues  that we are challenging and this just highlights the gross injustice of the whole process. And  what are they going to do about the hundreds of people already judged under the secret code, including me?’

Fighting this case – for the ultimate benefit of all LP members – is costly and we still need more funds. If you are able to, please give generously and please share via email and social media.

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Comments (22)

  • Margaret West says:

    I read in Labour List that the Labour Party were revamping their complaints procedure(s) in accordance with legally-binding recommendations from the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

    I also understood that those currently under investigation/suspended would be dealt with via existing procedures (?) Am relieved to read then that the secret code consulted by the LP to make decisions about antisemitism complaints has now been made available.

    Congratulations on your efforts concerning Justice for Labour Party members!

  • Tony Burford says:

    So what was ‘the code’?
    Why did the JLM etc object?

  • goldbach says:

    By the way, the Labour Party has, it seems, produced a new draft Complaints and Discipline Policy (note the absence of the phrase “and appeals”). I don’t know of anyone who has had an email from the party to tell them or to give them a link to it in order that they can express their opinions about it. The madness continues. I’ll see if I can get the link to post here.

  • goldbach says:

    I found the link to the “policy” document. Here it is.

  • Margaret West says:

    Tony – there is a definition of antisemitism in the handbook referenced in the Labour List article – so maybe this is it?

    They snook it in hoping nobbut ‘ud notice I guess?

    Of the IHRA “definition” – nary a mention and of the examples given as part of it – not a sight ..

    Well whoda thunk it?

  • Allan Howard says:

    In the document linked to in the above article it has a list of examples of unacceptable behaviour re harassment and bullying, and one of them is the following:

    Twisting something someone says or does.

    Well the amount of twisting of what people said or did during Jeremy’s tenure as leader and since must break the Guiness Book of Records for twisting and distorting and misrepresenting. I mean one could literally fill a large tome with it all!

    Jeremy has by far been the main victim of ‘twisting’, and for the obvious reason that he was the main target of the Smearers, and Ken (Livingstone) probably takes second place. To be suspended from the LP for alluding to an historical fact – ie The Haavara Agreement – took copious amounts of twisting, and those in the LP who condemned him – along with the accompanying faux outrage – were falsely condemning him and for the obvious reason. The whole episode was one big falsehood perpetrated on the general public, but the claim that Ken said Hitler was a Zionist was of course complete and utter fabrication. And yet in a Commons debate on anti-semitism several years ago Ian Austin attacked Ken for supposedly saying that, and called for Ken to be ‘booted out of the party’ as such.

    And who ‘twisted’ what Jeremy said on the day the EHRC published its fraudulent report?! Yes, one Keir Starmer! Whereas Jeremy said that the problem of anti-semitism in the party has been dramatically overstated (by political opponents inside and outside the party and the media). Starmer then castigated him telling a press conference that anyone dismissing the problem of antisemitism as exaggerated was “part of the problem… and should be nowhere near the Labour Party”.

    Jeremy was NOT ‘dismissing’ the problem of A/S – and was just stating the actuality (as Starmer knew of course) that it had been grossly exaggerated – and THAT is a massive distortion of what Jeremy said by Keir Starmer.

    Needless to say, the twisters and distorters get a free ride in the MSM and the Jewish newspapers, who pile in and do their own share of twisting and distorting, along with the JLM and CAA and LAA et al!

  • Kuhnberg says:

    I despair of the Labour Party under Keir Starmer. I joined in 2015 expressly to vote for Jeremy Corbyn. I am a supporter of Palestinian rights. Since becoming leader Starmer has removed the whip from the former and elevated the rights of supporters of Israel above the latter. To my chagrin, I voted for Starmer to become leader, believing his pledges and feeling he would be capable of standing up to Johnson. He has abandoned the pledges and consistently appeased Johnson’s vile administration. He has destroyed party democracy, due process and fairness. I will never vote Labour so long as he remains leader. Nor will I vote Labour if it is led by one of his allies.

  • Harry Law says:

    Starmer hates Jeremy Corbyn so much he said after a factually correct statement from Corbyn that “Corbyn should have no place in the Labour party” and by implication nor should any Labour member who harbours such views [this could well be a majority of Labour members].
    Just how vindictive Starmer is one only has to look at all the anti Zionists he has had expelled from the party.
    Another Labour supporter denigrated and her career put in jeopardy was Maxine Peake,
    Ms Peake’s short comment in the Independent interview was a legitimate criticism directed at the Israeli state, in particular a branch of that state – the Security Services, [her comment broke no laws nor any public order regulations and is free speech, allowed for in article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights now incorporated in UK law] Ms Peake’s comments were patently not Anti-Semitic since she did not mention Jews. The Government of Israel is neither a representative of the Jewish people collectively wherever they may reside, nor, and more importantly, not a representative of what people of Jewish origin may think. It is wrong to conflate actions of the Israeli government or state with Anti-Semitism as Mr Starmer has done, in fact as a guide the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance [IHRA] working definition of Anti-Semitism at example 11 states, it could be Anti-Semitic to conflate the two, here … “Holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel”. Starmer is a vindictive man who will pander to any focus group in order to gain power, he lacks any semblance of humanity, I have nothing but contempt for him. As i told a LP canvasser over the phone last week, Starmer is the last person on earth I would vote for.

  • Alan McGowan says:

    This plot just gets murkier. Two obvious points: The document linked calls itself “Complaint Handling Handbook, Version 1.0, 31 March 2021.” If this date is correct and this is the first version as 1.0 seems to suggest then it cannot be the document used before that date. Either this is wrong or there is a previous 0.9? 0.8? 0.1? version.

    Prima facie the decisions that have already been made purporting to have been based on this code are so at variance with what it says that that claim looks very questionable indeed. The discrepancies look so large that in a fair re-consideration of those cases most of those decisions need to be reversed

  • E Gardner says:

    Allan Howard has perfectly summed up the damage caused to members wrongly accused of anti-semitism. Regretfully the party has been taken over by those who have used spurious charges of anti-semitism for their own ends.

  • Dave Bradney says:

    I suppose that for non-initiates compliance with a secret code is never an easy task.

    Maybe the blame for the extent of antisemitism in the party should be laid at the door of whoever it was who decided that the code, once adopted, should stay secret. Maybe members could have done better if they had been better informed!

    Come to think of it, if it could be kept secret that presumably means that it was never considered by NEC?

    In future, welcome packs for new members had better include cloaks and daggers from the Party Shop.

  • Frances Naggs says:

    Can we view this secret code anywhere?

    [JVL web – yes, it is linked to in the introduction to this article.[See The Labour Party Complaint Handling Handbook, pp. 15-21] It’s not that the Code as such is “secret” – it has been available since July 2018, including on this website. What has been secret is the fact of its use, with people not being told the criteria they were being assessed by or being able to challenge the way the Code was being applied in their cases.]

  • David Paul Sheard says:

    I received my notice of investigation on the 9th August 2019. I responded within a week.
    I have yet to receive an answer, so after 55 years of continuing very active membership I cancelled my standing order, that I was still paying at full rate despite being retired.

  • Paul Leach says:

    Just to be clear- the Code being used secretly until LA4J forced it to be revealed, is the same text published in the Jewish Chronicle by Lee Harpin on July 5, 2018?

  • Ian Kemp says:

    goodness I wonder what Hodge Austin Berger Smeeth Mann Ian McNichol, will say about this. They I am sure will be free to comment as they usually do re Ant Semitism. I shall look forward to what they have to say with interest.

  • Margaret West says:

    It is interesting to read the actual examples published in the Handbook and
    the eventual outcome which was sometimes “Complaint not pursued further” and sometimes a ticking off or similar . Education is also recommended in the book.

    Apropos Livingstone – during one of his interviews he said
    “Hitler was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing six million Jews” which was criticised as “crass” by the reporter.

    Yes Livingstone was referring to a factual event but the “agreement” which this referred to was surely made under duress ! The Jews who were allowed to leave for Palestine did so because of coercion just as some left for the United States for the same reason – ethnic cleansing in other words. Maybe a
    bit more care with his words would have been desirable? He also said he did not blame them for leaving Germany . Such remarks would, according to the examples have usually resulted in a ticking off?

    The horrible irony is of course that the Palestinians left their homelands en masse also under duress and via coercion principally in the 1948 War – there was no “agreement” there either and this result was the opposite of what was promised to them after Balfour . On April 2nd 2021 the Times as usual quoted from their Archive – a piece dated April 2nd 1921 entitled “Justice for Arab and Jew”. This was principally a response to “representatives of the Moslem, Christian and Arab clubs” from Winston Churchill.

    Unfortunately it is behind a paywall so I cannot provide a link but it is certainly instructive for it was Winston Churchill who sent in the “Black and Tans” to bolster the Palestinian Police. This was to alleviate the shortage of manpower in the Army who were acting on behalf of the British Mandate
    for Palestine .
    Here is a link:

    (Sorry this post is long and I appear to have deviated from the substance of the article!)

  • goldbach says:

    I tried to post this link earlier but it failed.
    Hope it works this time.

  • goldbach says:

    P.S. I’ve been through the draft Complaints Policy. It’s VERY poor to say the least.

  • Martyn Meacham says:

    The Labour movement must get rid of Starmer and his cronies. The Labour Party cannot afford to let Starmer and his cronies totally finish off destroying the Labour Party.

  • Margaret West says:

    Re-reading the hand book I now see that I was wrong in thinking that
    the IHRA definition is not mentioned. It is replicated in an appendix along with other material whereas I was looking at the main body of the handbook viz pp7-11.

    So now we see that there are TWO (at least) definitions of anti-semitism
    so how confusing is that and which is used?

    It seems that the main part of the hand book contains the 2018 Corbyn definition? This is followed by three appendices as follows:

    Appendix 1 A flow chart indicating the complaints process;
    Appendix 2 A Glossary ;
    Appendix 3 NEC Codes of Conduct.

    Appendix 3 contains the IHRA Definition and much else and to me is totally confusing and a mess. It is a whole lot of ideas – much repetition and reads like a cut and paste of submissions from a number of people put down without thought or structure. It is notably different from the main (Corbyn ?) part of the document which is clear and concise.

  • john ditchfield says:

    I look forward to the full press coverage – particularly from the Guardian – that this news will undoubtedly garner (I joke of course!)

  • goldbach says:

    Earlier, I mentioned the draft Complaints Policy.
    As someone who, during my working life, had responsibility for drawing up such policies, and who subsequently sat on discipline panels, I feel able to make an informed assessment of this draft policy.
    Here it is:-
    P3 Complaints Handling
    States that -“There are essentially three different complaint handling procedures, for complaints relating to: sexual harassment, discrimination based on a protected characteristic such as antisemitism and all other complaints.”
    .. but then, immediately says – “The procedures for all complaints are very similar but the sensitivities around sexual harassment and antisemitism mean that there is an independent overview of the process.”
    In other words, all other protected characteristics are considered not to be sensitive, and sexual harassment and antisemitism are the only ones to be given an independent overview process. Not very reassuring for people who are the victims of homophobic or Islamophobic behaviour or other protected characteristics.
    P3 States -“A member of staff within the GLU will firstly assess a complaint to see if it merits investigation and shouldn’t be excluded (see Appendix 1 to this Policy). If the complaint is to be investigated, then the evidence supplied with the complaint will be considered. If more information is required, then they will attempt to obtain this, either through independent research, from the complainant or from the member being complained about (also known as the respondent).”
    NO – the respondent should only comment (if s/he wishes to do so) at a disciplinary hearing if one is deemed necessary.
    “Once they have enough information, or they can obtain nothing more, a decision will be made as to whether the member has breached the Labour Party’s rules and/or conduct requirements.”
    NO – The GLU is acting as the investigating officer. The investigating officer should decide whether there is a case to answer. A discipline panel should decide whether conduct breached guidelines.
    P3 States – “At the outcome of the complaint investigation, a report will be written and a recommendation will be made to the NEC. The NEC can make a decision themselves or refer the complaint to the National Constitution Committee (NCC) for their decision. “
    This is unclear. If the GLU has already determined that the complaint is upheld, what is the NEC or NCC required to decide?
    P5 Complaint Resolution Involvement
    States – “However, there are times when independent people will be commissioned to be involved. “
    There is no statement regarding who these independent people will be and how they will be selected …… or, indeed, whom/what they will be independent of.
    P6 Withdrawing complaints
    States – “A complaint may be withdrawn verbally or in writing at any time by the complainant. “
    Poor English, “verbally” means in speech or writing. What they mean is “orally” rather than “verbally”.
    P7 States – “There is no right of appeal to the Labour Party regarding the implementation of this section of the Policy”
    This is nonsense. Any half-decent Complaints Policy MUST give people the ability to appeal.
    Had this been brought to me by an employee who had been charged with producing a draft policy, I would have helped him/her to amend it such that it reflected best practice. There MUST be a clear distinction between the Investigating Officer and those who decide whether the complaint is upheld. There MUST be provision for reference to an appeals panel.
    There is one other glaring error. There is no stipulation that confidentiality should be maintained. It is essential that Discipline and Appeals Panels do not have their decisions prejudiced by public discussion of the case. We saw, over that past half decade, repeated instances of complainants (and in one case the respondent) running to the media to publicise the complaint. It would be my preference, in such cases, to continue with the panel meetings but to also charge the person who ran to the media with attempting to prejudice the outcome of a hearing (this would attract a similar range of sanctions).
    Sorry about the length of this, but it is something that I know about.

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