Jeremy Corbyn hits out at ‘repulsive racism and sexism shown to Diane Abbott’ highlighted in Labour’s Forde Report
The report found that two groups within the Labour Party treated the issue of antisemitism as a 'factional weapon'
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that the Forde report should give Labour a “path forward”.
The long-awaited report into a leaked antisemitism dossier found that two groups within the Labour Party treated the issue as a “factional weapon”.
Labour said on Tuesday that its general secretary had received the report and was due to take the document to a meeting of the party’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC). It has since been published online.
The leaked 860-page document found “no evidence” of antisemitism being handled differently from other complaints and blamed “factional opposition” towards former leader Mr Corbyn for hampering efforts to tackle the issue.
In a statement published on Facebook following the release of the report, Mr Corbyn said: “The politics of the many, not the few, are more needed in this country than ever.
“We suffer a cost-of-living scandal while billionaire wealth soars and climate breakdown accelerates while fossil fuel companies boast record profits.
“For the Labour Party to be the vehicle for a better and sustainable world, things need to change. The appalling behaviour that Forde calls out, including the repulsive racism and sexism shown to Diane Abbott and others, should have no place in a progressive party.
“Toxic factionalism is far from over – nor are persistent problems of racism and sexism – and action must be taken, as Forde makes clear.
“Most of all, the Party needs to decide what it is for and who decides that. Are we a democratic socialist party, run by members and affiliated unions, that aims for a fundamental transfer of wealth and power from the few to the many? Or are we something else?”
The foreword to the Forde report said: “The evidence clearly demonstrated that a vociferous faction in the party sees any issues regarding antisemitism as exaggerated by the right to embarrass the left.
“It was of course also true that some opponents of Mr Corbyn saw the issue of antisemitism as a means of attacking him.
“Thus, rather than confront the paramount need to deal with the profoundly serious issue of antisemitism in the party, both factions treated it as a factional weapon.”
The foreword also said the inquiry panel found the disciplinary process was “not fit for purpose” and “potentially prone to factional interference” during the period it investigated – 2015 to 2019.
However it did say “many aspects of the party’s recent reforms of disciplinary procedures” were to be applauded, and the changes were “generally steps in the right direction”.
The report also found that while “some progress” has been made in relation to sexism, “there is more to be done”.
“The party clearly needs to continue to work to root out sexual harassment and misogyny in its workplaces… but it also needs to be alive to the subtler ways in which even senior women can feel excluded and undermined,” it said.
On tackling racism, it found that “less progress has been made”.
“Many respondents felt they were confronted with a less welcoming atmosphere in which many respondents felt they were forced to immerse themselves daily, and this amounts to a constant drain on the attention and energies of talented people who would prefer to be focused on their work,” it said.