Labour Peer Says Party's Failure With Anti-Semitism Is Due To The Leadership

20 June 2019, 16:08 | Updated: 20 June 2019, 16:11

Lord Harris speaks in the House of Lords.
Lord Harris speaks in the House of Lords. Picture: House of Lords

A senior Labour lord has said his party's "abject failure" with anti-Semitism is down to the leadership.

Lord Harris of Haringey told Peers in the House of Lords it was "humiliating" to find Labour subject to a formal investigation by the human rights watchdog.

Speaking during a during a debate in the House of Lords on anti-Semitism, he said the scandal had caused "dismay" among party members, and that he felt a "deep sense of shame."

Lord Harris said "any anti-Semite in the Labour Party is one too many," adding: "The Labour Party's abject failure to deal with anti-Semitism effectively over the last three years cannot be ascribed to inadequate resourcing of the complaints and compliance function in the head office."

The Labour Lord said he had written to Jeremy Corbyn more than three months ago to express his "alarm" at the party's failure to "remove anti-Semites" from the party. He also revealed he has not "had the courtesy of a reply."

The failure was a "political one", he told peers. "It is a failure of leadership."

During the same debate, cross-bench peer Lord Sacks said: "Within living memory of the Holocaust, anti-Semitism has returned exactly as it did in the 19th century, just when people had begun to feel they had finally vanquished the hatreds of the past.

"Today there is hardly a country in the world, certainly not a single country in Europe, where Jews feel safe.

"It is hard to emphasise how serious this is, not just for Jews but for our shared humanity.

"And not just for what it represents now but the danger it signals for the future."