UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: REUTERS/NEIL HALL
UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: REUTERS/NEIL HALL

London — British police announced on Friday that they are investigating alleged “anti-Semitic hate crimes” within the main opposition Labour Party after receiving a leaked internal dossier.

The criminal investigation comes after a national radio station obtained what it said was an internal Labour document, detailing 45 cases involving messages posted by party members on social media.

Labour, led by veteran socialist Jeremy Corbyn, spent the British summer dogged by accusations of anti-Semitism. The issue has bubbled under the surface for years, but intensified in recent months with a series of incidents coming to light.

“A criminal investigation has commenced into some of the allegations within the documentation,” London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement. Britain’s top police officer Cressida Dick was handed the leaked dossier two months ago after an interview on LBC radio.

“The complainant alleged that the documentation included evidence of anti-Semitic hate crimes,” the police said. “The contents have been examined by specialist officers.”

The police said early investigative advice was being sought from the UK’s crown prosecution service (CPS), England’s state prosecutors, which decides on whether to bring criminal charges once an investigation is complete.

LBC had previously showed the dossier to former senior police officer Mak Chishty, who has been in charge of dealing with hate crime. He believes that 17 instances should have been reported to the police for investigation, and another four are potential race hate crimes.

‘Thoroughly depressing’

Dick said Labour as a whole was not under investigation. “We are not going to investigate the Labour Party. We would always want institutions and political parties and similar to be able to regulate themselves,” she told BBC radio. “However, if somebody passes us material which they say amounts to a crime we have a duty to look at it,” she said.

“We are now investigating some of that material because it appears there may have been crime committed. I hope we will be able to clear that up very quickly.”

Labour deputy leader Tom Watson told BBC radio that the investigation was “thoroughly depressing, although, sadly, I’m not surprised. If people have committed hate crimes, they need to be dealt with by the full force of the law. There’s no role for them within the Labour Party.

“If this does one thing, it will be able to silence a very small number of people who still believe that anti-Semitism doesn’t exist in my party,” which he said was hampering efforts to stamp out the problem.

Labour said they had not been contacted by the police but stood ready to co-operate with the investigation.

“The Labour Party has a robust system for investigating complaints of alleged breaches of Labour Party rules by its members,” a spokesperson said. “Where someone feels they have been a victim of crime, they should report it to the police in the usual way.”