Keir Starmer's statement on the EHRC's announcement

Watch the video, or read the statement, below.

EHRC announcement - Keir Starmer's statement:

Today is an important moment in the history of the Labour Party. It has taken many, many months of hard work and humility to get here. It has meant rebuilding trust, not just with the Jewish community, but with all those who were rightly appalled by the culture of the party under the previous leadership. When I became leader, I said I would turn Labour around and give it back to the British people. The most important and urgent part of that was in tearing out antisemitism by its roots.

Antisemitism is an evil and no political party that cultivates it deserves to hold power. I said from the start that we would be judged not on our own terms but by the return of those who felt they could no longer support us.

The first step on that journey was to accept the findings of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. But it was deeper than that because we also had to make clear that there was no space for anyone who didn’t do the same. That is as true today as it was then. Let me be very clear: those who seek to blame others or downplay what happened in our party are, themselves, part of the problem and we will have zero patience or tolerance of that. Having accepted the Commission’s report, the onus was then on us to begin to right the wrongs of the past.

I am proud to lead a party and a team that have worked tirelessly to do so and it is as a result of that work that I am speaking today. But while this is an important moment it is not one for celebration. It is one for reflection. On how a party that has always prided itself on its anti-racism, its commitment to equality, its belief in a better, fairer Britain could have fallen so far as to betray its own principles, as well as the principles of the country.

This is also a moment to apologise once again. To all those who were hurt, to all those who were let down, to all those driven out of our party, who no longer felt it was their home, who suffered the most appalling abuse.

Today, on behalf of the entire Labour Party, I say: sorry.

What you have been through can never be undone. Apologies alone cannot make it right. But just as I promised to take this issue head on. Today, I make you a number of further promises: Firstly, that under my leadership there will zero tolerance of antisemitism, of racism, of discrimination of any kind. And secondly, that every day I will work ceaselessly to bring this party back to the British people.

Be in no doubt: the job of restoring Labour is not complete. Not even close. I don’t see today’s announcement as the end of the road. I see it as a signpost that we are heading in the right direction. I feel humbled when I think of all those who have tirelessly dedicated themselves to getting Labour back on track. All those inside and outside the party who have made it their mission to restore, renew and rebuild Labour on behalf of the country.

It is thanks to them that we can say firmly, proudly, confidently: The Labour Party has changed. Not because it was convenient to do so, not by fiddling around the edges, not just until the next person to lead the party comes along. But permanently, fundamentally, irrevocably. We have changed from a party that looked inwards to a party that meets the public gaze. From a party of dogma to a party of patriotism. From a party of protest to a party of public service. Change is never easy. And I understand that some people won’t like the changes we’ve made. But I say this with all candour: The Labour Party is unrecognisable from 2019 and it will never go back.

It will never again be a party captured by narrow interests. It will never again lose sight of its purpose or its morals. And it will never again be brought to its knees by racism or bigotry. If you don’t like that, if you don’t like the changes we have made, I say the door is open and you can leave. But to all those who can see we have changed for the better, and are excited about doing even more. To all those who dream of a Britain that is fairer, greener, more dynamic. To all those who want to make this great country, greater still I say the door is open. Come in. Make us your home again.

Working together, I believe we can do great things for our country. I believe we can be a force for good. And that starts today. No one knows better than me that there is much still to do. That is why my third promise to you today is that I will not rest for a moment until the job of changing the Labour Party for the better, and then the job of changing our country for the better, are complete.

Keir Starmer
Leader of the Labour Party


Read about how the Labour Party is tackling Antisemitism