LONDON—Three former members of the British Labour Party have been arrested by police in the framework of a criminal investigation dossier into allegations of antisemitism against them, the Jewish Chronicle reported.
The dossier was compiled by the Labour Party itself, and was leaked to the LBC radio station, which conveyed it to London’s Metropolitan Police.
In a statement, Scotland Yard said that it had arrested two men in their 50s and a woman in her 70s for “publishing or distributing material likely to stir up racial hatred” on the basis of the dossier. The suspects — all former members of Labour — were “interviewed under caution” and then released pending an investigation.
The Labour Party and its leader Jeremy Corbyn have been beset by claims of institutional antisemitism and a failure to deal with it.
According to the Jewish Chronicle, the dossier contained alleged Jew-hate by 45 party members. One of them was a threat to give a “Zionist extremist MP” a “good kicking”. The party was condemned for its “inexplicable” failure to inform those who were threatened.
In a joint statement, the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Community Security Trust (CST) said: “We await the outcome of the investigations, but ask why Labour had not itself alerted the police.
“We are also concerned as to how many more cases remain unknown and repeat our request, made one year ago to Mr Corbyn, that the party urgently appoint an independent ombudsman on such matters.”
A Labour spokesperson whas elcomed the “police investigating these individuals’ alleged crimes”.They said: “Antisemitism has no place in our society and we are committed to challenging and campaigning against it in all its forms.”
In a separate case, the Labour Party this week expelled one of its prominent member over antisemitism. Jackie Walker was a former vice-chair of the hard-left political grouping Momentum inside the party. In 2016, she said in comments on Facebook that “many Jews were the chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade.”
She also said that “wouldn’t it be wonderful if Holocaust Memorial Day was open to all peoples who’ve experienced Holocaust?.” She deplored that the International Holocaust Remembrance Day does not mark “the African holocaust.”
Walker was originally suspended by the Labour Party in May 2016 following her original comments, but was reinstated shortly thereafter. She was suspended again in October that year for her comments about International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The Labour Party spokesperson said that the National Constitutional Committee found the charges of breaches of Party rules by Jackie Walker to have been proven.