Letter to House of Lords appointments commission

Nick Lowles - 20 01 20

Following media reports at the weekend that Jeremy Coybn has nominated Karie Murphy to be a Labour peer, I’ve written to the House of Lords Appointments Commission. Their job is to properly vet all nominees. I don’t think they will be able to do that until the conclusion of the EHRC investigation into antisemitism in the Labour Party.

Here’s the full letter, sent earlier today. 

Dear Lord Bew and fellow members of the House of Lords Appointments Commission,

I am writing to you to express concern at the reported nomination of Karie Murphy, former Chief of Staff to the Leader of the Opposition, for a political peerage.

Ms. Murphy is currently at the heart of a statutory investigation into the Labour Party by the Equality and Human Rights Commission instigated under section 20 and Schedule 2 of the Equality Act 2006.

The EHRC investigation includes assessing ‘whether unlawful acts have been committed by the Party and/or its employees’ and ‘whether the Rule Book and the Party’s investigatory and disciplinary processes have enabled or could enable it to deal efficiently and effectively with complaints of race and/or religion or belief discrimination and racial harassment and/or victimisation’.

A submission by the Jewish Labour Movement to the EHRC included allegations that complaint processes lacked independence from the Leader’s Office, that staff in the Leader’s Office denied antisemitism was an issue and that individuals, including Karie Murphy, appointed staff members with a known history of antisemitism. Additionally, separate allegations have been raised by whistleblowing staff members including that Ms. Murphy spied on staff and demanded details of their computer searches.

An informed decision as to the ennoblement of Ms. Murphy is not possible until such time that the EHRC has fully considered all allegations against her and come to a determination as to her culpability with regard to the issue of antisemitism within the Labour Party.

The House of Lords Appointments Commission pledges to uphold the seven principles of public life; selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty, leadership. It is not clear at this stage that the appointment of Ms. Murphy to the Lords would be compatible with these values.

We believe that to consider the appointment of an individual at the centre of a statutory investigation prior to its conclusion would itself be counter to the principles of public life.

HOPE not hate does not seek to pre-empt the findings of the EHRC nor influence the independent evaluation of the Appointments Commission, merely to make clear our view that until a fully informed vetting process can take place, it would be improper to advise the Prime Minister to proceed with the appointment of Karie Murphy.

Nick Lowles

CEO, HOPE not hate


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