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Christian wing of Labour Party backs Starmer's response to anti-Semitism report

by Cara Bentley

Christians on the Left has said it stands with the Jewish community and supports Sir Kier Starmer's response to the Equality and Human Rights Commission's (EHRC) report into the party. 

On Thursday, the EHRC released its report into how the Labour Party had handled anti-Semitism complaints and concluded that there was political interference in decisions on suspensions, that allegations were treated as fake or exaggerated and that there was little training in how to deal practically with complaints. 

After the report was released, the former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said many of the allegations has been overstated by his opponents, the media and those within the party who wanted to bring him down. Sir Keir Starmer then suspended his predecessor for his reaction. 

The lead commissioner on the EHRC report was Alasdair Henderson, a Christian, who told Premier: "Jeremy Corbyn's response to this is a matter for him and the way that that's dealt with is a matter for the Labour Party. Our real concern is that it's not just about Jeremy Corbyn, it is about the overall culture of the party and the overall leadership and there's a lot of work to be done in making sure that that changes." 

Labour Party

In a statement, the officers on the Christians on the Left executive said it welcomed the Labour Party's response to the EHRC's report, saying: "We have been clear in our view that the Labour Party needed to do more to tackle antisemitism. Antisemitism is unacceptable and should have no place in the Labour movement. The EHRC findings are shocking and show how far the Party had moved from its core commitment to equality."

They have not commented on the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn specifically. 

The group continues: "The Labour Party leader, Keir Starmer, has committed the Labour Party to implementing the EHRC's recommendations in full. This is the right decision. He has also repeated his commitment to zero tolerance of antisemitism and to a change of culture in the party. These are important commitments that we fully support.

"We stand in solidarity with the Jewish community and our friends in the Jewish Labour Movement. As a committed affiliate of the Labour Party, we will continue to play our part in ensuring the Labour Party is an open and welcoming place for people from all backgrounds, and all communities."

Mr Henderson, who was the main investigator, spending 16 months on the report, said his passion for looking into serious allegations of mistreatment towards Jewish people and the Jewish religion came from his Christian beliefs: "I'm committed to the ideas of equality and human rights because of my faith and because I believe, as Genesis Chapter 1 tells us, that all human beings are made in the image of God and therefore have inherent dignity and value. That gives us a real responsibility to make sure people are respected and given that dignity in their lives. 

"The other thing that had an effect was that I have a really passionate commitment to freedom of religion and so to see Jewish people threatened or harassed because of their religion is something that I think is important to investigate properly, and then take action on if it's a problem. That's partly because, as a Christian, I believe that's the way God treats us. I obviously want people to know God and to know Jesus but the way that God deals with the world is that and he doesn't coerce us, it's a work of the Holy Spirit."

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