A JC investigation has uncovered new information on how Labour’s powerful NEC disputes committee came to ignore a recommendation by Labour’s Compliance Unit to issue formal warnings to two students who were accused of engaging in repeated antisemitic acts.read more
The decision, taken in January, led Baroness Royall, the Labour peer who initially investigated claims of antisemitism at Oxford, to conclude it risked “confirming a widely held view that we don’t take antisemitism seriously”.
Internal documents sent to all 35 members of Labour’s NEC confirm the investigation into one male student, who had close links to both the Labour leader and Mr McCluskey, the Unite general secretary, involved “serious complaints” over “alleged antisemitic incidents linked to OULC”.
On January 17, Labour’s disputes committee gathered at the party’s HQ in central London to decide, among other matters, whether to implement the recommendations from the Compliance Unit.
The JC has learned that around 20 people turned up for the meeting — including three Unite reps, Jennie Formby, Jim Kennedy and Martin Mayer, as well as NEC chair Ann Black, Unison rep Keith Birch and Young Labour’s Jasmin Beckett.
Others in attendance included GMB union rep Cath Speight and Unison president Wendy Nichols.
A source who was present at the NEC meeting said there was clear evidence of co-ordination among the three left-wing Unite members to over-rule the Compliance Unit’s recommendations.
“The three Unite reps ran rings around the rest of the room,” confirmed the source. “They had co-ordinated their response very well.
“At one stage Jim Kennedy suggested ‘these two gentlemen have been through enough’. Martin Mayer actually went so far as to say ‘these two need an apology, not a warning’.
“It was as though they were offering personal character references for the two individuals accused.
“At one point, it was suggested that ‘these two boys, they’ve been dragged through the press, and are now worried about their job prospects’. It was quite shocking to be honest — it just sounded like excuses.”