Labour is being investigated by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. What next?

The EHRC has a variety of powers and inquiries can take some time. 

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The Equality and Human Rights Commission will launch an investigation into whether the Labour party’s handling of antisemitism within its ranks complies with equalities law. The move comes following complaints to the equalities watchdog from the Campaign Against Antisemitism and the Jewish Labour Movement, the party’s Jewish affiliate.

The EHRC has launched multiple investigations into the behaviour of various organisations since its creation in 2006, seeking a number of changes from the relevant bodies in the process. It has investigated just one political party – the BNP – before, forcing the party to shelve its whites-only membership policy.

The commission has launched just one full-blown investigation since its creation in 2006. That investigation, into the treatment of women and minorities in Metropolitan Police, started in September 2014 and reported back in September 2016, so it could take some time before the EHRC’s report into the Labour party is complete. Even preliminary investigations of the kind the commission has embarked on in this instance can take several months.

If the EHRC does find Labour has a case to answer, then the commission has a variety of powers, including requiring that the party creates an action plan to address the problem, with which it can sanction the party.

Stephen Bush is political editor of the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics. He also co-hosts the New Statesman podcast.

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