Lies, Falsehoods and Misrepresentations from Boris Johnson to Keir Starmer

“Under my leadership there will be zero tolerance of antisemitism”

Sir Keir Starmer, Labour Leader, Statement 

Facts

Sir Keir Starmer used an announcement by the Equality and Human Rights Commission that Labour was no longer in special measures to make a “promise” that “under my leadership there will be zero tolerance of antisemitism.” 

In April 2023, Starmer removed the Labour whip from Diane Abbott for comments she made about racism in a letter published by the Observer, telling reporters unequivocally: “In my view what she said was to be condemned, it was antisemitic… I said we would tear out antisemitism by its roots, I meant it and that’s why we acted so swiftly.” 

But one year later, following intense pressure over an apparent attempt by the leadership to block Abbott from standing for Labour in the 2024 general election, Starmer personally decreed that she was “free to go forward as a Labour candidate… I’ve not expressed a view up until now, she’s free to go forward as a Labour candidate.”

Several Labour MPs not on the left of the party had been accused of antisemitism and faced no sanction. 

  • Steve Reed remained in Starmer’s shadow cabinet despite having apologised for calling a Jewish businessman a “puppet master” in 2020. 
  • Mike Amesbury sat on Starmer’s frontbench despite having previously shared what was described as an “antisemitic caricature” on social media, for which he apologised in 2019. 
  • Afzal Khan sat on Starmer’s frontbench despite having previously shared a Rothschilds conspiracy theory on social media, for which he apologised in 2019. 
  • Naz Shah sat on Starmer’s frontbench despite having previously shared social media posts she described as antisemitic, and for which she apologised in 2016. 
  • Barry Sheerman retained the Labour whip despite having apologised for posting a tweet saying there had been a “run on silver shekels” after two Jewish businessmen missed out on peerages in 2020.

Verdict

A broken promise. Starmer failed to sanction MPs who themselves apologised for antisemitic remarks. He personally allowed Abbott to stand as a Labour candidate despite describing her remarks as antisemitic.

We emailed Sir Keir Starmer’s office and Labour offering them the chance to respond. We received no response.

Published 28 Jun 2024
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