An investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party by the Equality and Human Rights Commission has found the party committed unlawful acts of harassment and discrimination.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)’s 130-page report on the investigation said it found "significant failings in the way the Labour Party has handled antisemitism complaints over the last four years".

The report said they found "specific examples of harassment, discrimination and political interference", but also noted "a lack of leadership within the Labour Party on these issues", which it said was "hard to reconcile with its stated commitment to a zero-tolerance approach to antisemitism".

It said: "The Labour Party must live up to this commitment and acknowledge the impact that multiple investigations and years of failing to tackle antisemitism has had on Jewish people."

The EHRC report also added it "uncovered serious failings" in the way complaints were handled, until at least 2018, during which Jeremy Corbyn was Labour leader.

The report stated: "We found that the Labour Party's response to anti-Semitism complaints has been inconsistent, poor and not transparent, in terms of the process used, reasons for decisions, record-keeping, delay and failures to communicate with complainants.

"Some complaints were unjustifiably not investigated at all."

The report added: "We have concluded that this practice of political interference was unlawful.

"The evidence shows that staff from the Leader of the Opposition’s Office (LOTO) were able to influence decisions on complaints, especially decisions on whether to suspend someone.

"Sometimes these decisions were made because of likely press interest rather than any clear formal criteria."

The report cited an example of such interference, from April 2018, regarding Mr Corbyn's alleged support for an "antisemitic mural".

It said that in an email to the party’s governance and legal unit (GLU) responsible for handling complaints, Jeremy Corbyn's staff said that the complaint should be dismissed, stating that: “The complaint itself seems to fall well below the threshold required for investigation and if so surely the decision to dismiss it can be taken now.”

The report said that staff in the Leader of the Opposition's Office (LOTO) “amended and approved the GLU’s written response to the complainant to include details on Jeremy Corbyn’s actions in relation to the mural.

“LOTO staff therefore directly interfered in the decision not to investigate in this case.”

EHRC lead investigator Alasdair Henderson told a press conference: “Blame for the anti-Semitism in the Labour Party can’t be placed on one person, we looked at the party as a whole.

“And it went beyond the role of Jeremy Corbyn.

“That said, the failure of leadership, although it extended across the party through the period of example that we looked at, was of course during the time when Jeremy Corbyn was leader.

“And as leader of the party, and with evidence of political interference from within his office, he does have a responsibility ultimately for those failings.

“There were some improvements made but they weren’t nearly enough during the time he was there.

“Any further legal action in respect to Mr Corbyn himself is not a matter for us.”

The Jewish Labour Movement said blame for the "sordid, disgraceful chapter" in the party's history "lies firmly with those who held positions of leadership".

In a response to the EHRC report, the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism said: "The Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report is a groundbreaking document.

"It is the first ever finding by the EHRC of unlawful acts. It heavily criticises the Labour Party’s former leadership.

"It makes clear recommendations to ensure that there is zero tolerance of anti-Semitism in the party in the future. It provides a robust framework for ensuring that the party complies.

"The EHRC's report utterly vindicates Britain's Jews, who were accused of lying and exaggerating, acting as agents of another country and using their religion to 'smear' the Labour Party.

"In an unprecedented finding, it concludes that those who made such accusations broke the law and were responsible for illegal discrimination and harassment."

In response, former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said Jewish Labour members were right to expect the party to deal with anti-Semitism “and I regret that it took longer to deliver that change than it should”, but added “the scale of the problem was also dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party”.

The Campaign Against Anti-Semitism said: “The debate is over. Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, the Labour Party became institutionally anti-Semitic. It drove almost half of British Jews to consider leaving the country.

“For five miserable years, every effort to compel Labour to reform failed. We were left with no choice but to refer the Party to the EHRC, which launched an investigation with us as complainant. The EHRC’s findings and recommendations today – that Labour’s leadership and culture created an unlawful environment that discriminated against Jews – closely align with the hundreds of pages of evidence and argument that we submitted to the EHRC over many months.

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“Frankly, this report would not be much different had we written it. It is the dispensing of British justice that British Jews have sorely awaited, but has been denied for too long.

“Jeremy Corbyn and those around him who took part in or enabled the gaslighting, harassment and victimisation of Britain’s Jewish minority are shamed for all time.

“Those who defended and stood by them are shown to have made possible the closest flirtation that mainstream British politics has had with anti-Semitism in modern history.

“Sir Keir Starmer now has a long list of reforms to make, including establishing an independent disciplinary process so that those who put Britain’s Jews in fear for their future in this country can at last be held to account for their deeds. To that end, we have submitted complaints against Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott and fifteen other sitting MPs and have given Labour six months to conduct transparent investigations and finally deliver justice for the Jewish community.

“We are immensely grateful to everyone who fought alongside us for this day to come. Too many of them have suffered greatly for their principles. They are the best of this country.”