Labour’s under-resourced compliance unit has secretly suspended 50 party members over anti-Semitic and racist comments, 20 within the last fortnight alone.
With the Labour Party bracing itself for the loss of more than 100 seats at Thursday’s local elections, and an admission from London mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan that his campaign has already been hurt by the issue, it has been revealed that 50 members were secretly suspended amid the ongoing anti-Semitism row.
Senior party sources have identified the massive influx of hard-left activists during Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership campaign as a reason Labour’s compliance unit has become swamped, reports The Telegraph. One source said:
“There are just six people in the compliance unit with one more joining after the [European Union] referendum and frankly, it’s nowhere near enough.
“They can’t cope with the number of new members that have joined since Jeremy became leader, they need more resources.”
The newspaper reports that the 16 suspensions which have already been made public since October merely represent “the tip of the iceberg”, with the number of members actually suspended in the past two months being 50, of which up to 20 were within the past two weeks alone.
While attempting to focus on this week’s various elections by unveiling a local election poster this morning (pictured above), Mr. Corbyn dismissed the suspensions as a “very small number of cases”. In doing so he echoed the claims of several colleagues keen to defuse the anti-Semitism row.
However, Jonathan Arkush — President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews — said that the Labour leader’s failure to accept the existence of a more widespread anti-Semitism problem is “an issue in itself,” adding:
“Labour will need to consider whether the compliance unit is the right approach or whether there needs to be a stronger mechanism to deal with what we see, to our sadness, to be a pretty serious problem in the current party membership.”
Senior figures within the Labour Party are reportedly so concerned by the row, they are now openly discussing a potential leadership coup following June’s referendum. The Mail reports that Mr. Corbyn’s opponents are believed to be positioning former Cabinet minister Margaret Hodge as a potential ‘stalking horse’ to challenge him if Thursday’s local election results are as bad as feared.