Shami Chakrabarti has been given a peerage by Jeremy Corbyn weeks after delivering her commissioned report on anti-Semitism in Labour.
Earlier in July, CUFI questioned the independence of the so-called independent inquiry, in which Chakrabarti came to conclusion that Labour does not have a problem with anti-Semitism. The inquiry avoided criticising Mr Corbyn for describing Hamas and Hezbollah as friends, and how this affected the debate on the issue in the party. She also failed to question why he didn’t clamp down quickly on anti-Semitic comments by Ken Livingstone and online posts by MP Naz Shah before she was elected. The report also recommended keeping suspensions secret and ruled out lifetime membership bans.
Her independence was further questioned by CUFI during the Parliamentary committee panel hearing during which Ms Chakrabarti was sat behind the Labour leader to his right, and was seen constantly making expressions and gestures which showed her supporting the Labour leader.
Ms Chakrabarti, who joined Labour on the day she was appointed to lead the inquiry, had previously denied that a peerage had been promised.
Now the awarding of a seat in the House of Lords by Corbyn not only further questions her independence, but completely undermines the credibility of the report.
The Jewish community and other Labour MPs have responded strongly to the appointment:
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said in a tweet: “Shami Chakrabarti has a proud record of public service, but in accepting this peerage, the credibility of her report lies in tatters and the Labour Party’s stated intention, to unequivocally tackle anti-Semitism, remains woefully unrealised.”
Marie van der Zyl, of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: It is beyond disappointing that Shami Chakrabarti has been offered, and accepted, a peerage from Labour following her so-called independent inquiry.
‘The report, which was weak in several areas, seems to have been rewarded with an honour.
‘This whitewash for peerages is a scandal that surely raises serious questions about the integrity of Ms Chakrabarti, her inquiry and the Labour leadership.’
Jeremy Corbyn has also broken a pledge not to nominate people for peerages by offering Ms Chakrabarti a peerage, but she was his sole nomination in the list last night.
Labour deputy leader Tom Watson said the timing was ‘not great’ and revealed he had not been told of the Labour leader’s intention to nominate Shami Chakrabarti for a peerage.
Mr Watson told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: ‘The timing is not great for the Labour Party, I wasn’t aware, I wasn’t consulted on whether Shami was going in, I didn’t know that we’d provided citations for this particular round.
‘And I do think it’s a mistake because I don’t think agree with resignation honours.
He added: ‘Sure enough, she delivered a whitewash which failed to deal with Labour’s anti-Semitism problem in any meaningful way.
‘She did not tackle allegations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party or their woeful handling by Jeremy Corbyn, and she even refused to adopt a definition of anti-Semitism.
‘Having promised to never send anyone to the House of Lords, that is exactly what Jeremy Corbyn has done in return for a clean bill of health.’
Miss Chakrabarti, who stood down as director of the human rights pressure group Liberty in January, said last night: ‘I am honoured to accept Jeremy Corbyn’s challenge and opportunity to help hold the Government to account.’
John Mann, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism, accused Mr Corbyn of ‘appalling hypocrisy’. He told LBC radio that Miss Chakrabarti had ‘sold herself cheaply’ for a Lords seat.
Wes Streeting tweeted: ‘Shami Chakrabarti will bring great experience to the Lords. But let’s not pretend that a Labour peerage in these circumstances doesn’t stink.’
Christians United for Israel UK