Labour launch probe into claims of ‘serious antisemitism’ during selection contest

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Labour launch probe into claims of ‘serious antisemitism’ during selection contest

Party bosses confirm probe launched into the allegations and members suspended during the parliamentary selection contest to pick Labour's election candidate for Kensington seat

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Labour party leader Sir Keir Starmer delivers his keynote speech at the Labour Party conference in Brighton. Picture date: Wednesday September 29, 2021.
Labour party leader Sir Keir Starmer delivers his keynote speech at the Labour Party conference in Brighton. Picture date: Wednesday September 29, 2021.

Labour have launched an investigation into “serious” allegations of antisemitism during a parliamentary selection contest.

Party chiefs confirmed they had intervened to dissolve the selection committee setback to pick candidates for the selection contest in Kensington local Labour party after commencing “a serious investigation into antisemitism” and over the need to “suspend members due to antisemitism.”

The memo from London Labour regional HQ also expressed “serious concerns” about the conduct of some of the selection committee accusing a “few” of them of either “lack of organisation” or else a “blatant attempt to undermine the process.”

Last week Jewish News revealed the Kensington selection was rocked by antisemitic and Islamophobic slurs being made against one of the candidates.

Mete Coban, one of the candidate hopefuls, had been labelled “Zionist” and a Muslim “sell out” in an online message sent to members.

The ugly message also accused him of being a “supporter of apartheid, racism and baby killers.”

A damning message sent to the Kensington CLP selection committee on Thursday evening also confirmed that committee members had previously been removed from their duties after it was discovered they had been campaigning themselves for the candidate Kasim Ali.

On Friday, it was confirmed that Ali had been removed the final shortlist of candidates who will now attempt to convince members they should represent Labour at the next general election.

Jewish News understands that the antisemitic email circulated in north Kensington last week was linked to a group of activists who had been involved in a leafleting session for Cllr Ali.

There is no suggestion Ali was directly involved in the wording of the racist email.

He had previously been backed the local Momentum group as their favoured candidate.

Ali had also previously claimed a photograph of himself at a campaign event for Zak Goldsmith’s London mayoral bid, which is displayed on the Somali Conservatives Facebook page, had indeed showed him present, but as a representative of a local communal group.

It is understood that a panel from Labour’s national executive committee will now oversee the selection process in the West London CLP.

Alongside Coban’s name on the shortlist of candidates for the Kensington selection ware those of Afsana Lachaux and Joe Powell.

Kensington CLP had faced an earlier antisemitism scandal when its former MP Emma Dent Coad apologised after backing claims Israel disgraced “Jews worldwide.”

Dent Coad, who lost the seat in 2019, was blocked from standing again as a candidate as a result of “due diligence” done on all those standing.

One Labour source welcomed the latest intervention from party chiefs into the local party.

“This has been needed for a long time now,” said the source. “Kensington CLP has been a mess. A hang-over from the Corbyn era.

“It’s great the leadership have now taken action.


Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: