Scottish Labour rejects proposals for anti-semitism debate at conference

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Proposals for an emergency debate on anti-semitism at the Scottish Labour conference have been thwarted by party bosses today.

Two local party branches, Renfrewshire South and Paisley, had sought a debate on the issue at the party conference at Dundee’s Caird Hall.

Richard Leonard has been urged to take action on anti-semitism. Picture: John Devlin

Richard Leonard has been urged to take action on anti-semitism. Picture: John Devlin

It comes amid claims that Labour is failing to tackle a growing problem of anti-semitism in its ranks, with the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission having opened an investigation into the issue.

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Party chiefs say the issue will be addressed during a general debate on Saturday on equality and diversity.

Eileen Dinning, chair of Scottish Labour’s Conference Arrangement committee, told delegates that just two out of 10 emergency motions has been accepted.

“We obviously regret that we’ve had to reject a large number of emergency motions,” Dinning said.

She added that the purpose of emergency motions was to deal with issues that arose after the deadline for contemporary motions.

“Most of the rejected motions addressed substantive issues that have been live for many months.

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“So simply identifying an event that relates to a substantive issue in the emergency motion period does not make it a genuine emergency.”

She added: “This morning we met with delegates from Renfrewshire South CLP and Paisley CLP who had their emergency motions on targeting anti-semitism rejected”

The need for equality and diversity training for all key figures in Scottish labour were among the recommendations of a recent Independent Advisory Group Report on the issue, she added.

“They were also encouraged to make the points raised in their emergency motion during the debate on equality and diversity on Saturday afternoon.

“We also gave a commitment this morning to request the Scottish Executive to bring forward a statement tomorrow highlighting the independent review group recommendations, while specifically dealing with the scourge of antisemitism.”