Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the U.K. Labour Party, long-listed Shami Chakrabarti for a peerage before asking her to head a probe into anti-Semitism in the party, the Telegraph reported.
- British Parliament took a brave stance against 'goysplaining' anti-Semitism
- Author of Labour anti-Semitism report 'sold out Jews' for shadow cabinet post, U.K. Jews say
- Jeremy Corbyn is a bully, bad for democracy, for Britain and for British Jews
Citing sources within Labour and in the House of Lords, the Telegraph reported that Baroness Chakrabarti, a human rights activist who has since been appointed shadow attorney general, was aware that her name was on the list before she agreed to lead the probe in late April.
Corbyn officially offered Chakrabarti the peerage in July, after the publication of her report that mostly exonerated the party of anti-Semitism. The offer was intensely criticized over claims that the peerage offer had a transactional element.
In October, after Corbyn appointed Baroness Chakrabarti as his shadow attorney general, the British Jewish Board of Deputies accused her of "selling out the Jewish community" for a place in the shadow cabinet.
Chakrabarti responded at the time that the peerage was offered after the report was concluded and that there was "nothing remotely transactional" about the report.
A spokesman for Corbyn told the Telegraph that Chakrabarti was offered a peerage only after the anti-Semitism report was published.
The Labour Party has been bedeviled by a string of anti-Semitism scandals this year, reaching an apex in April with the suspension of two prominent party members, including former London Mayor Ken Livingstone.
Corbyn had initially insisted that his party has no anti-Semitism problem, but had since launched an inquiry into the matter and promised to form a "code of conduct" regarding anti-Semitism and racism in general.
The inquiry, headed by Chakrabarti, found that the party was not overrun by anti-Semitism or any other form of racism but that there is an "occasionally toxic atmosphere."
Party members "should resist the use of Hitler, Nazi and Holocaust metaphors, distortions and comparisons in debates about Israel-Palestine in particular," Chakrabarti wrote.
In October, a parliamentary committee inquiry slammed Labour's probe, saying that: “The failure of the Labour Party consistently and effectively to deal with anti-Semitic incidents in recent years risks lending force to allegations that elements of the Labour movement are institutionally anti-Semitic.”
The Home Affairs Committee report also scrutinized Chakrabarti's promotion, which has “thrown into question her claims (and those of Mr Corbyn) that her inquiry was truly independent.”