LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s opposition Labour Party has made sufficient changes over the last two years to drive out antisemitism from its ranks, the equalities watchdog said on Wednesday, as leader Keir Starmer pledged zero tolerance towards discrimination.
The party, which opinion polls indicate has a strong chance of forming Britain’s next government in two years, was forced to come up with an action plan by the equalities watchdog to address allegations of discrimination and harassment against Jewish people.
“Today is an important moment in the history of the Labour Party,” Starmer said in a speech. “It has taken many, many months of hard work and humility to get here. We can say firmly, proudly, confidently: The Labour Party has changed… under my leadership there will zero tolerance of antisemitism, of racism, of discrimination of any kind.”
Starmer also said Jeremy Corbyn, under whose leadership of Labour the allegations of antisemitism first emerged in 2019, will not stand for election as a Labour Party candidate.
Corbyn, who has consistently denied allegations of antisemitism, was suspended from the Labour party in 2020 after he downplayed a report that detailed serious failings in the party’s handling of persistent antisemitism complaints during his leadership up to 2019.
“Let me be very clear about that. Jeremy Corbyn will not stand for Labour… What I said about the party changing, I meant we are not going back,” Starmer told reporters.
Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission had launched a formal investigation in 2019 to determine whether Labour, then led by Corbyn, had discriminated against, harassed or victimized people because they are Jewish.