Labour acts over antisemitism and racism claims in Brighton and Hove

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Labour acts over antisemitism and racism claims in Brighton and Hove

Jewish News understands that Labour leaders in Sussex have been told a five member panel will be appointed to oversee candidate selections as a result of grave concerns

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Labour leaders in Brighton and Hove, Sussex, have been informed they can no longer conduct election candidate contests, due to continued concerns over antisemitism, and a lack of Black and other ethnic minority representatives.

Jewish News understands that the chairs of the regions three constituency local CLPs – Brighton Pavillion, Brighton Kemptown and Hove and Portslade – were informed of the decision taken because of grave concerns about the state of the local party.

The shock move, which has been approved by the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC), was relayed to all local Labour Group leaders on Thursday.

It will see a five member panel appointed by the NEC and Regional Executive Committee (REC), to approve future candidates, with the intention of improving both their quality and diversity.

It follows repeat allegations of antisemitism amongst councillors and members, which eventually contributed to Labour losing overall control of Brighton Council to the Greens.

One councillor, who was originally reported for antisemitism in 2020, was suspended again only last month after new social media posts came to light.

The move to impose a panel to select candidates ahead of local election in the Sussex region next year has been welcomed locally by Jewish activists.

It is also comes after BAME members told Labour’s regional bosses they felt they were being excluded from being selected as candidates because they were not part of the hard-left pro-Jeremy Corbyn faction.

One source told Jewish News: “Despite all the welcome steps taken since Keir Starmer became leader, the Momentum faction still carries a lot of weight in some local branches.

“These people are overwhelmingly white and middle-class, ‘Posh Marxists’ is how some describe them.

“The problem is, they have contributed to the continued toxic atmosphere at some meetings, and have also succeeded in ensuring we having an appalling lack of BAME candidates at elections.”

Jewish News understands that regional officers in the South East actively contacted BAME members of the local party who attempted to stand as candidates in the 2019 elections.

Some were allegedly told they could not stand in winnable wards because they were not party of the local Momentum group.

Other BAME members said this factionalism had meant that they could not attract enough support to stand as candidates.

It is understood the newly imposed panel will be composed of five members, with two from BAME backgrounds.

The MP for Hove Peter Kyle has repeatedly spoken out over the antisemitism issues that dogged the party under Jeremy Corbyn.

Lloyd Russell Moyle is the MP for Brighton Kemptown.

Jewish News has contacted Labour for comment.

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