Following the release of the EHRC report into anti-Semitism within the Labour Party, the Lib Dem Leader of the Opposition in Haringey, Cllr Luke Cawley-Harrison asked the Leader of Haringey Council if he accepted the EHRC's findings and agreed with Keir Starmer's comments on the report, and cited specific examples from within the Haringey Labour Council Group of comments that the both the EHRC Report and the Leader of the Labour Party have indicated are unacceptable.
In response Cllr Ejiofor said he was unaware of such comments made by members of his group, and therefore Cllr Cawley-Harrison has written to the Leader of the Council with the examples given and calling for action. You can view the exchange here (please move the video to the 1hr 43min 40sec mark).
Haringey Liberal Democrats will not tolerate any form of racism within Haringey Council, whether from elected members or elsewhere, and hope the Leader of the Council will take swift action in the same vein.
The letter is reproduced in full below:
Cllr Luke Cawley-Harrison
Cllr Joseph Ejiofor
24th November 2020
I am writing to follow-up on your responses to my question at Full Council last week about the EHRC report into anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.
I appreciate your comments about how unacceptable anti-Semitism is, and I have no doubt we are in complete agreement about this and any other form of racism. However, as I mentioned, I remain disappointed that several councillors have remained members of the Labour Group, despite making comments of exactly the kind you condemned.
To cite specific examples:
In addition to this, there has obviously been further reported incidents of note this year and last, regarding comments made in respect to race or racial stereotypes from Cllr Tabois and Cllr Bull.
I note your reference to the Labour Party having rules in place to allow such comments to be reported. Whilst this is true, it is not an adequate answer. Firstly, because given the EHRC’s findings, it is not reasonable to assume that people will have little confidence in the party’s procedures. In addition, the rules of a private organisation of fee-paying members are not sufficient to hold public officials accountable.
You also answered my questions by referring to not knowing of any incidents since the release of the EHRC report. However nowhere in the report, or in any comments made by the Leader of the Labour Party, was reference made to only taking action against incidents that happened after the release of the report.
As Leader of the Council, you are principal spokesperson for the borough. If Councillors who deny and excuse the reality of anti-Semitism are in the same Group as you and you do not speak out against that fact, then that is sending a message that their views are considered acceptable by the Council and by the borough. This in itself I find unacceptable.
I would therefore like to refer back to the question I raised at Full Council, and ask whether you find it acceptable that Haringey Labour Councillors have made such comments, - given I am sure that you agree with Sir Keir Starmer, that if you deny there is a problem with anti-Semitism in the party, then you are part of the problem yourself? And if you agree that it is unacceptable, what action you will personally be taking against these councillors to show that these views will not be tolerated within the Council or the borough?
It is absolutely imperative that we stand completely united against all forms of racism in this Council.
Cllr Luke Cawley-Harrison
Cllr Luke Cawley-Harrison | Leader of the Opposition