Labour Fires Peer for Comparing Corbyn’s Inner Circle to Hitler’s ‘Bunker’

Corbyn
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Labour peers are considering whether to hold a no confidence vote in Jeremy Corbyn after the party fired Dianne Hayter for describing the leader’s inner circle as “the bunker” over its refusal to hear criticism on membership, finances, or antisemitism.

The senior Labour peer had claimed at a meeting of the centre-left Labour First group last week that top party officials had refused to share with the National Executive Committee data submitted for the Equality and Human Rights Commission investigation into alleged hatred of Jews in the party.

“That declaiming of intelligence, the refusal to share is [an] absolute symbol of the bunker mentality,” Baroness Hayter said in comments reported by HuffPost.

“Those of you who haven’t [read the book] will have seen the film Bunker, about the last days of Hitler, where you stop receiving any information into the inner group which suggests that things are not going the way you want,” Hayter continued.

“That seems to be where we are at the moment: having the leadership in a bunker so they are not hearing in those views, that evidence, that is in conflict with what they are trying to do, to the extent that even undermines what they are trying to do,” she added.

Labour then fired the peer from her shadow frontbench position on Thursday, with a spokesman saying: “Dianne Hayter has been sacked from her shadow frontbench position with immediate effect for her deeply offensive remarks about Jeremy Corbyn and his office.

“To compare the Labour leader and Labour Party staff working to elect a Labour government to the Nazi regime is truly contemptible, and grossly insensitive to Jewish staff in particular.”

BBC political editor Norman Smith said that what the sacking looks like is “Mr Corbyn wanting to take out some of his more prominent critics”, rather than a crackdown on the language used by Hayter.

Labour MP and Corbyn critic Wes Streeting called the move a “gross overreaction” to what the peer said, “but [it] does reinforce what she did describe, which was a bunker mentality at the top. This epitomises it. Nice to know that swift action is taken to protect Jeremy Corbyn’s feelings, but shame we can’t act against racists.”

Ms Hayter was one of four members of the House of Lords to write to Corbyn to call for an investigation into claims aired on the BBC’s Panorama programme that the party brass interfered in the process of dealing with complaints of antisemitism.

The BBC reports that Labour Lords will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss whether to hold a vote of no confidence in Mr Corbyn, and if agreed, a poll of all party peers will be conducted.

Such a vote would not be binding on the hard-left leader, however.

Labour has been mired in controversy and accusations of antisemitism since Mr Corbyn took over the party in 2015. The aforementioned Panorama report alleged that the leader’s office was obstructive to investigations into antisemitism, with some disciplinary decisions being “downgraded” to a “slap on the wrist”.

On Wednesday, more than 60 Labour peers took out a newspaper advertisement condemning the party leader, a longtime supporter of the Palestinian cause, for presiding over a “toxic culture” by overlooking complaints of antisemitism.

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