Tonbridge anti-semitism campaign chief says Labour ‘cannot be salvaged’
by Andy Tong | 27th February 2019
THE former chairman of the Tonbridge & Malling Labour Party, who is a leading activist in the fight to uncover anti-semitism, has said the party is ‘institutionally racist’ and ‘cannot be salvaged’.
Euan Philipps stepped down in April last year in protest at the lack of action being taken to stamp out anti-Jewish racism in the national party. He was accused by the borough’s executive of being an ‘internet troll’.
He has given his backing to the nine Labour MPs who have stood down from the party for the same reason – eight of them joining the newly formed Independence Group alongside Conservative MPs who are disaffected with the Brexit negotiations.
Two years ago he set up the campaign group Labour Against Anti-Semitism [LAAS], which has calling for allegations to be investigated by the party.
LAAS has reported more than 6,000 cases involving 1,200 party members to Labour’s Compliance Unit, and has a backlog of 4,000 still to be processed.
'It’s clear the situation has reached breaking point. The whole organisation is institutionally racist and the structures are in place to protect the members'
“The Independent Group has our full support,” he told the Times. “It’s clear the situation has reached breaking point. The whole organisation is institutionally racist, and the structures are in place to protect the members.
“The Independents have accepted that there is no way the Labour party can be salvaged. The situation is like the Metropolitan Police in the 1990s.
“There has to be a will from the top down to change, but in the Met the officers protected their colleagues. In the Labour Party they are closing ranks and circling the wagons.”
Two weeks ago, under pressure from MPs, Labour’s General Secretary Jennie Formby finally released official figures of the disciplinary action taken by the party’s National Executive and National Constitutional Committees.
She said 673 complaints had been received from Labour members between April 2018 and last month, with 96 members suspended and 12 expelled from the party.
But Mr Philipps insisted not enough progress is being made, saying: “Jennie Formby’s lack of action on this issue means she should resign.
“The National Constitutional Committee is not fit for purpose, and there will be no solution to the problem while Jeremy Corbyn is party leader.”
The 40-year-old communications manager, who lives near Larkfield, has been lambasted by his Tonbridge & Malling colleagues.
'We have continued our fight despite some of the most intense bullying and intimidation I’ve ever experienced in over 25 years of Labour Party membership'
The CLP’s executive sent an email out to its members after his resignation, saying the LAAS ‘has been accused of “trolling” other members.
“I will not apologise for the work we do,” he said. “We have been effective, and we have continued our fight despite some of the most intense bullying and intimidation I’ve ever experienced in over 25 years of Labour Party membership.”
He added that the tactics had been replicated in the national arena. “Myself and other activists have been targeted for abuse on social media, and it’s not nice being called a racist or an abuser.
“Some of us have suffered in terms of our mental health. I’m just a comms manager, my colleague is a decorator. It smacks of moral cowardice.
“Apparently, the worst thing Labour Party members can do is tackle racism in their own party!
“That’s why we support the Independent Group – they say ‘we’re not having this anymore’, and we take a lot of strength from their conviction.”