Shami Chakrabarti says she was not offered peerage by Jeremy Corbyn before writing antisemitism report

She did not rule out taking the post of shadow Justice Secretary

Jon Stone
Sunday 04 September 2016 14:42
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Shami Chakrabarti formerly led the Liberty campaign group
Shami Chakrabarti formerly led the Liberty campaign group

Shami Chakrabarti, a senior human rights campaigner who wrote an independent report into tackling antisemitism in the Labour Party, has said she was not promised a peerage by Jeremy Corbyn before writing the report.

Ms Chakrabarti was the sole person elevated to the House of Lords by the Labour leader alongside David Cameron’s resignation honours, leading to some critics of the Labour leader to claim there may have been impropriety involved.

Asked whether she was offered the peerage before she began work on the report, she told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show: “No, it was after the Brexit vote, after the report, in the resignation honours. Jeremy Corbyn is no a corrupt man and I am not a corrupt woman. I stand by the report, there was nothing remotely transactional about this.”

Among other critics, Labour MP Wes Streeting had said at the time of Ms Chakrabarti’s appointment: “Shami Chakrabarti will bring great experience to Lords. But let's not pretend that a Labour peerage in these circumstances doesn't stink.”

Ms Chakrabarti hinted that previous Labour leaders had offered her “transactional” favours in exchange for their support while she was chair of the human rights organisation Liberty.

“I know what it’s like to be offered transactional favours by Prime Ministers and not by beleaguered leaders of the Labour party,” she said.

She added: “When people swing mud at you it is designed to damange your reputation but I haven’t done anything in my working life for reputation, I’ve done it to make a difference.”

The peer, who is a trained barrister, did not rule out serving as Mr Corbyn's shadow Justice Secretary.

Ms Chakrabarti was the public face of Liberty from 2003 to March this year. One of her first jobs after she stepped down was writing the report for Labour; the party was at the time engulfed in a row about potential antisemitism.

The report said the party was not overrun by antisemitism but said there was an “occasionally toxic atmosphere” and “too much clear evidence of ignorant attitudes”.

She made 20 recommendations, including resisting the use of comparisons to Hitler, as well as procedural changes to the party’s disciplinary process and the appointment of a general counsel to the Labour party.

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