Post sponsored by

Source: Labour List UK

Labour’s ruling national executive committee (NEC) has appointed a four-person panel to investigate the leaked report on the party’s handling of internal antisemitism complaints.

Martin Forde QC, an experienced barrister currently acting as the independent advisor on the Windrush Compensation Scheme, has been chosen by the NEC to chair the independent inquiry.

He will be supported by three Labour peers: Baroness Debbie Wilcox, a councillor and former leader of Newport City Council; Lord Larry Whitty, a former Labour general secretary; Baroness Ruth Lister, a social policy professor.

Wilcox was the first woman to lead the Welsh Local Government Association in 2017. She was appointed to the Lords last year, and stepped down as a council leader to focus on her new role.

Whitty became general secretary of the Labour Party in 1985, and held the post until 1994. He oversaw many of the party reforms implemented by Labour leader Neil Kinnock.

A former director of the Child Poverty Action Group, Lister has previously served on a number of independent commissions, such as the Opsahl Commission into the Future of Northern Ireland.

Following the NEC meeting today, a Labour spokesperson confirmed: “The NEC has appointed Martin Forde to chair the independent investigation into the circumstances, contents and release of an internal report.

“Forde will be supported by a panel of three experts who have expertise in the law and the Labour Party’s structures. The NEC has agreed that the investigation should endeavour to deliver its report by the middle of July.”

Several sources have told LabourList that Momentum chair and NEC member Jon Lansman proposed Alf Dubs as a panel member because there was no Jewish representation.

However, this suggestion was voted down in the meeting today, including by Keir Starmer. The stated reason was that Dubs had vocally supported Keir Starmer’s leadership bid.

It was pointed out by NEC sources that Baroness Wilcox backed Starmer’s leadership campaign this year. But it has also been argued that Dubs is a higher-profile backer of the leader.

Sources say the other factor taken into account was gender balance, particularly as the chair chosen is male. However, there are still concerns about the lack of Jewish representation on the panel.

Labour’s ruling body met last week to agree the terms of reference of the independent investigation. Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner told the NEC that the inquiry does not preclude any disciplinary action that may arise from the contents of the report.

The NEC decided that the scope of the inquiry would cover the allegations in the report, its commissioning and how it was put into the public domain despite containing personal data. LabourList published the agreed terms of reference in full.

MIL OSI United Kingdom