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20th May 2016

Results of Royall anti-Semitism inquiry released

The recommendations following an inquiry into allegations of anti-Semitism within the Oxford University Labour Club have been released

Baroness Royall has released her recommendations following an internal inquiry into anti-Semitism in the Labour Party launched after the resignation of the Oxford University Labour Club’s (OULC) co-Chair and resulting accusations of institutional anti-Semitism within the group.

The youth wing of the Party was shaken by allegations of anti-Semitism after Alex Chalmers stepped down as co-Chair, citing OULC’s decision to support Israeli Apartheid Week and claiming members had “some kind of problem with Jews”.

Royall was tasked by the NEC of the Labour Party to investigate the claims and make recommendations to both the club and the wider party based on her findings. These were released earlier today.

“My recommendations will have a positive impact, not only on OULC, but on Labour clubs and the Labour Party more generally”, states Royall in her introduction, explaining that many reports of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party that followed Chalmers’ resignation, many of which were nationally reported, had to be taken into account during the investigation to inform her findings.

“I do not believe that that there is institutional antisemitism within OULC”, she explains. “Difficulties however, face OULC which must be addressed to ensure a safe space for all Labour students to debate and campaign around the great ideas of our movement.

“It is not possible to simply make recommendations about the OULC without considering how our Party itself responds to these events. I am therefore, today making recommendations about how Labour tackles antisemitism to minimise the chance of any repetition of incidents such as those described at OULC.” She also has issued recommendations to the wider ongoing inquiry being led by Shami Chakrabarti, within which she will serve as a deputy chair.

The recommendations include the provision of training by Labour Students in collaboration with the Jewish Labour Movement in dealing with anti-Semitism, proper resourcing of the national complaints procedure so as to effectively deal with reports, and enabling individuals to report incidents to the Executive Director of Governance of the Labour Party directly. The full list can be read in full here.

The final point is that it “is not recommended that where a person is excluded from membership for antisemitism this should automatically be a life ban.” She explains her belief that opinions may change and where this can be demonstrated, individuals should be able to seek approval to re-join the Party. This is especially important following public comments made by former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone regarding Hitler’s links with Zionism. Livingstone has been suspended and his future within the party is yet to be decided.

Her recommendations to the Chakrabarti inquiry follow. She recommends considering creating a definition of anti-Semitism, introducing rules for dealing with anti-Semitism quicker, extending the eight-week probationary period to one year when anti-Semitism is involved, and addressing the conduct of online discussion which is often the source of some of the most extreme comments.

Her final point: “No form of antisemitism or racism is acceptable, including being used as a factional political tool.”

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