Labour Lords declare semi-independence over anti-Semitism, writes Robert Peston

Labour Lords have taken out an advert criticising Jeremy Corbyn. Credit: Labour lords have taken out an advert criticising Jeremy Corbyn.

What has it come to in the Labour Party when the only way Labour peers feel they can communicate with their leader Jeremy Corbyn is to pay to take out an advert in the Guardian?

No major party has ever been this dysfunctional.

The advert has been signed by roughly a third of Labour Lords.

It looks like a declaration of semi-independence by them - over Jeremy Corbyn’s failure to deal with the scourge of anti-Semitism in a way they see as effective and appropriate.

“The point about the Lords is they can’t be deselected,” said a senior Labour MP.

“If we didn’t face the threat of deselection, we’d be as bold as the Lords.”

This MP estimated perhaps a third of Labour members also feel alienated by the perception that anti-Semites and anti-Semitism are not being cut from the party fast enough or effectively enough.

Pressure has been building for the institution and process to deal with anti-Semitism in Labour to be wholly independent.

The advert taken out by Labour Lords.

But Corbyn is expected to resist the party losing control to that extent and, at Monday’s special discussion by the shadow cabinet, he is thought likely to instead recommend the transfer of decision-making on whether to expel alleged anti-Semites from the party’s National Constitutional Committee to its ruling National Executive Committee.

If this were to happen, it might speed up expulsions and punishments of anti-Semites, but the process would still be seen to be political and still seen to be within the sphere of influence of Corbyn and Labour’s leadership.

So, the reform would probably not win back the trust of much of the Jewish community.