Labour anti-Semitism complaints process ‘hindered by lack of resources’

A lack of resources is delaying Labour's investigation of anti-Semitism complaints against members, the party's Scottish leader has said.

Richard Leonard said he was "frustrated" by the situation, explaining there was a "resource issue" because of the number of complaints that had been made.

He insisted the party would not tolerate the problem, telling BBC Radio Scotland: "We want to root out anti-Semitism from every corner of the Labour Party and every corner of society."

Delegates at the party's Scottish conference in Dundee will get the chance to discuss the issue during a debate on equalities, he said, though some have been calling for a dedicated slot on the agenda.

Mr Leonard, speaking on the Good Morning Scotland programme, said the issue of anti-Semitism is one Labour takes "very seriously".

He said: "It is something that we are not prepared to tolerate.

"I understand why people feel frustrated that while some people have been expelled from the Labour Party because of their views, I understand why people are frustrated that we're not getting on with it as quickly as they would like."

He added: "There's been a bit of a resource issue because of the number of complaints that have come in.

"As a party we're trying to deal with them in a way that's judicious and fair to all parties concerned.

"Because only if they are dealt with in that way can both people who put in complaints and people who are complained against get a proper trial of their views.

"We're keen to make sure that how we deal with any complaints is fair but also I am frustrated and I know that other people are frustrated about the length of time it is taking but we are seeking to address that."

Mr Leonard spoke out after Ephraim Borowski, director of the Scottish Council of Jewish Communities, criticised Labour's handling of allegations of anti-Semitism, saying: "The whole thing frankly stinks."

Meanwhile, Scottish Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf has complained the party has been too slow to deal with a Labour councillor who made Islamophobic remarks about him.

Mr Leonard accepted that was "simply not satisfactory".

He said: "The case rests with our national constitutional committee, which is set up to consider these kind of cases.

"They will be convening a hearing where they will take evidence and then they will make a decision.

"I'll take this opportunity again to apologise that this has taken as long as it has taken. It's unsatisfactory to me and to all those people involved."