On 15 February 2023, the Labour Party held a press conference to announce that the Party is no longer being monitored by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (the EHRC). This news came after the EHRC announced, in October 2020, that the Party, and its agents, were responsible for acts of unlawful harassment and discrimination in relation to antisemitism. Mishcon de Reya acted for the Jewish Labour Movement, the main complainant, in relation to the EHRC investigation.
The EHRC published a detailed report into its findings, putting to rest the former Party leadership's continued denial of the extent of the issue. On 29 October 2020, the EHRC served the Party with an Unlawful Act Notice, requiring the Party to produce an Action Plan addressing the recommendations of the EHRC in its report, to prevent the recurrence of those unlawful acts. The recommendations to be implemented by way of an Action Plan included culture change, action against offenders, strengthening of due diligence checks on candidates, improved complaints handling, and antisemitism training for all staff. The action plan would be legally enforceable in the courts if not properly implemented.
The Party's Action Plan concluded on 31 January 2023 and the EHRC has confirmed that it is content with the actions taken by the Party. The press conference was an opportunity for reflection: Sir Keir Starmer firmly reiterated his pledge to root out antisemitism within the Party and apologised for the hurt suffered by the Jewish community as a result of the Party's conduct. Sir Keir emphasised, however, that the lifting of special measures marked the start of a journey – not the end – and he committed the Party to ensuring that antisemitism is never able to take root in its ranks again.
Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, who introduced Sir Keir, paid homage to the work of our clients the Jewish Labour Movement, who worked tirelessly with the EHRC during its investigation to ensure that the voices of the Jewish community were properly represented.