Shami Chakrabarti House of Lords Seat a ‘Mistake’

A fierce clash is sparked in Labour over Chakrabarti’s call to peerage

Richard Lea-Hair

Human rights campaigner Shami Chakrabarti has been nominated for a peerage, meaning she has seat in the House of Lords for life, as part of David Cameron’s honours.

The decision has caused intense anger among Jewish groups and prominent Labour MPs, with some calling it a “mistake” and “beyond disappointing.”

Chakrabarti, who was awarded a CBE, beared the Olympic flag and served on the Levenson Inquiry, chaired an inquiry into alleged anti-semitism within the Labour party.

This came about after Labour MP for Bradford, Naz Shah, was revealed to have made an anti-Semitic comment on social media prior to becoming an MP. Chakrabarti’s conclusion of the inquiry found that Labour was not rife with anti-semitism, sparking backlash from Jewish groups.

Now, given her prestigious seating in the House of Lords, questions have been raised regarding Chakrabarti, the inquiry and even the Labour Party.

Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis, tweeted “Shami Chakrabarti has a proud record of public service, but in accepting this peerage, the credibility of her report lies in tatters and the Labour Party’s stated intention, to unequivocally tackle anti-Semitism, remains woefully unrealised.”

A member of the board of Deputies of British Jews, Marie van der Zyl, said “it is beyond disappointing that Shami Chakrabarti has been offered, and accepted, a peerage from Labour following her so-called independent inquiry.

‘The report, which was weak in several areas, seems to have been rewarded with an honour.

‘This whitewash for peerages is a scandal that surely raises serious questions about the integrity of Ms Chakrabarti, her inquiry and the Labour leadership.”

Deputy Labour leader Tom Watson has also voiced his regret over the peerage nomination. He told BBC Radio 4 “The timing is not great for the Labour Party.”

He added “Shami Chakrabarti is precisely the sort of person you would want in the Lords. She’s a very highly regarded human rights lawyer, and we need that now.” But he added “I don’t agree with resignation honours…I don’t want laws to be made in the chamber of David Cameron’s friends.”




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