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Anti-Semitism row: John McDonnell would welcome Labour probe

Anti-Semitism row: John McDonnell would welcome Labour probe

Labour's John McDonnell has welcomed a potential investigation into allegations of anti-Semitism in his party. The Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has said it is considering a formal inquiry following a number of complaints, including from the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism.The shadow chancellor told the BBC he wants Labour to be a "shining example" in the way it tackles anti-Semitism.He added: "Let's get on with it now". Jeremy Corbyn has said anti-Semitism has "no place whatsoever" in the party.
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The Labour Party has been dealing with complaints of anti-Semitism over the last two years.On Friday, the chair of Labour peers wrote to party leader Mr Corbyn to express "alarm" at the "ongoing failure" to resolve the issue - something they said "diminishes the moral authority of the Labour Party".The EHRC is asking Labour to work with it to improve its processes. It has raised concerns with the party, which has two weeks to respond before it decides whether to take enforcement action - which can range from a voluntary agreement with the party to a full-blown investigation. The watchdog, which was set up by the Labour government in 2006, said it believed the party "may have unlawfully discriminated against people because of their ethnicity and religious beliefs", following a number of complaints.
'Learn lessons'
Asked about the investigation, Mr McDonnell told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show: "I'm hoping we will get a clean bill of health about how we are handling things. "If there are issues that the EHRC can advise us on, I welcome that. Because I want us to be a shining example of how you tackle issues like anti-Semitism, both within your own party, but also wider society.
Mr McDonnell said he was hoping for a "clean bill of health" for the party
"Let's get it done, because we will all learn lessons from it and I hope that other political parties as well - in how they deal with the racism that they've experienced in their own party - learn from this too."The Conservatives have been accused of not tackling Islamophobia in the party by their own former party chairwoman, Baroness Warsi.Senior Labour figures have clashed in the past week over the way the backlog of complaints against Labour members is being dealt with, amid claims the process has become politicised.The party's deputy leader, Tom Watson, has asked that any complaints be forwarded to him for monitoring, saying that "opacity and delay" had led to a "complete loss of trust". But the party's general secretary, Jennie Formby, said that approach would undermine party processes. The Sunday Times has reported claims that two of Mr Corbyn's closest aides had intervened in the party's disciplinary processes to lift the suspension of an activist accused of anti-Semitism.The party said the report was based on a "selective briefing" from a former employee and said while for a few weeks staff in Labour's Governance and Legal Unit had sought advice on a handful of cases, that practice had been stopped when Ms Formby became general secretary "and made the procedures for dealing with complaints about anti-Semitism more robust". It said there had been no attempts to overturn the unit's recommendations.
John McDonnell
Labour Party
Anti-Semitism
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