Labour plunged into fresh anti-semitism row over peerage for Karie Murphy

Posted On: 
19th January 2020

Labour has been plunged into a fresh anti-semitism row over plans by Jeremy Corbyn to give a peerage to his chief of staff, Karie Murphy.

Karie Murphy is said to have been nominated for a peerage by Jeremy Corbyn
Credit: 
PA Images

The Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) said the leader's decision to send Ms Murphy to the House of Lords was “deeply inappropriate and must be rescinded immediately” amid a probe into how the party handled complaints of anti-semitism against members.

According to The Sunday Times, Ms Murphy is among eight names put forward by Mr Corbyn for the upcoming dissolution honours list.

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The others include former Commons Speaker John Bercow and Tom Watson, Labour's ex-deputy leader.

Mr Corbyn's decision to ennoble Ms Murphy - the architect of Labour's disastrous general election campaign - is particularly controversial given the ongoing inquiry being carried out into anti-Jewish racism in the party by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

In a statement the JLM said: “Given both the specific allegations in our submission relating to the corrupt disciplinary processes and botched handling of anti-semitism within the Labour Party, and the fact the EHRC have yet to conclude its investigation, Ms Murphy’s nomination is deeply inappropriate and must be rescinded immediately.

“Jeremy Corbyn is using his final weeks in office to reward failure.”

Meanwhile, the anti-racism group Hope Not Hate tweeted: “No one who is a subject in the EHRC investigation should be ennobled before the full EHRC report is released.”

Asked about the peerage, Labour leadership contender Jess Phillips said she could not discuss individual members of staff, but told BBC 5Live’s Pienaar’s Politics: "I don’t think anybody should be given a peerage who is currently under investigation by the EHRC.”

And deputy leadership contender Rosena Allin-Khan said the EHRC investigation should conclude first, telling Sky News' Sophy Ridge on Sunday: "What I do know is that she is currently being investigated by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

"Hope Not Hate said that anyone who is being investigated by the EHRC shouldn't be recommended for a peerage, so I think that does need to be taken seriously."

When asked if the nomination would make her "uncomfortable", the Tooting MP said: "I would like to see the outcome of the EHRC report."

All nominations for peerages must be approved by the House of Lords Appointments Commission before becoming official.

But Ms Murphy was defended by Amy Jackson, Mr Corbyn’s former political secretary, who tweeted: “I don’t recognise the monster that Karie Murphy is repeatedly portrayed as.”

She added: “She is an absolute hero of the movement, and for once she deserves some recognition.”

Other names put forward for peerages by Labour include Sue Hayman, the former MP for Workington who lost her seat at the election, also appears, along with Tony Woodley, 72, the former joint general secretary of the union Unite, Prem Sikka, a professor of accounting at Sheffield University, Bryn Davies, a pensions expert, and Katy Clark, a former aide to Mr Corbyn.