May 28, 2019 / 11:37 AM / 7 months ago

UK equality watchdog opens antisemitism probe into opposition Labour party

FILE PHOTO: Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves his home in London, Britain, April 3, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s equality watchdog said on Tuesday it was launching a formal investigation to determine whether Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party has discriminated against, harassed or victimized people because they are Jewish.

Labour, Britain’s main opposition party, has promised to co-operate fully with the investigation, it added.

“We contacted Labour after receiving a number of complaints about allegations of antisemitism in the party,” the Equality and Human Rights Commission said in a statement.

“We have carefully considered the response we received from the Party and have now opened a formal investigation ... to further examine the concerns.”

Labour has faced accusations of antisemitism for over two years and consistently denies them.

Nine lawmakers quit the party in February, citing the leadership’s handling of the accusations, as well as its Brexit stance, as their reason for leaving.

In the same month, Labour suspended one of its lawmakers and said it would investigate his conduct after he said the party had been “too apologetic” in the long-running row.

A veteran campaigner for Palestinian rights, Corbyn, had been criticized by members, lawmakers and Jewish leaders for not fully adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of antisemitism.

Last September, the party agreed to adopt the definition.

Reporting by Stephen Addison; editing by Kate Holton

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