A handful of Labour staffers tried to stop the party’s Unite branch from sending letters of solidarity to the BAME MPs who were named in a leaked internal report as victims of racism and racial profiling from colleagues at Labour HQ, ITV News can reveal.
The report, which was looking at the party's handling of anti-Semitism, included a number of alleged examples of racism and racial profiling that had occurred in WhatsApp conversations involving members of staff of the Labour Party.
I understand earlier on Wednesday 100 or so Labour Party staff who are members of the Unite union and part of the workplace Unite branch, held a meeting via the video conferencing service Zoom to discuss how to collectively respond to the report which was leaked to the media at the weekend.
A motion was tabled in the meeting that said the report had “highlighted damning examples of casual workplace racism at the most senior levels of the party” and it “illustrates how the racism faced by Black, Asian and minority ethnic members were ignored.”
It also called for letters of solidarity to be sent to the three BAME MPs, Diane Abbott, Dawn Butler and Clive Lewis, who were mentioned specifically in the report as being on the receiving end of the racism and racial profiling.
During the meeting, some Labour Party staffers objected to this and an amendment was tabled to stop the letters of solidarity being sent out.
One Labour staffer, who is mentioned in the report in reference to these allegations, argued against it happening and said that it served as “an implication of guilt”.
I’m told this attempt to block the letters was only supported by a “handful of people” and was swiftly rejected.
Some Labour staffers also spoke out against the motion in its entirety throughout the meeting and one source described the discussions as “shocking” and “incredibly tense”.
The motion was passed with just over a dozen Labour staffers either voting against or abstaining.
One source said BAME colleagues in particular were upset about the meeting and counted that one person who was against the motion interrupted colleagues on more than 25 occasions.
Another source told me: "This was a straight forward motion that was designed to condemn the racism that was seen in the report.
"Many people are now very upset about the hostility in the response to that."
Now that the motion has passed, the Unite branch of the Labour Party will be sending the letters of solidarity.