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FORMER London mayor Ken Livingstone and ex-Labour councillor Pam Bromley accepted a settlement offer today from the Equality & Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
In its report into anti-semitism in the Labour Party in October 2020, the EHRC singled out Mr Livingstone and Ms Bromley for allegedly having “contributed” to “unlawful harassment related to Jewish race and religion.”
The two politicians brought a legal challenge against the equalities watchdog, which was aimed at overturning parts of the quango’s report.
The case had been expected to reach court by the end of 2021 and a senior High Court judge gave permission for it to proceed to trial.
The two politicians accepted a deal offered by the EHRC, in which each side withdraws from the case and bears its own costs.
Mr Livingstone and Ms Bromley said in response to the settlement offer: “We believe that, deep down, the EHRC understands that its investigation was flawed and that it acted unlawfully.
“That’s probably why they were willing to settle the case without recovering a penny of their exorbitant costs.”
It is understood the EHRC legal costs were over £215,000, while the Labour Party and the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) also spent tens of thousands of pounds in legal fees.
Mr Livingstone’s and Ms Bromley’s costs amounted to £35,000 and were funded from a fighting fund established at the end of 2019 by former Labour MP Chris Williamson from the costs he won from the Labour Party.
An EHRC spokesperson said: “We firmly stand by our robust and fair investigation, the findings of which were accepted in full by the Labour Party.
“We welcome the decision to withdraw this judicial review claim, with disappointment at the valuable time and resource that we have had to expend on defending it.”
The EHRC investigation also found that the Labour Party had committed unlawful acts.
In a joint statement, Mr Livingstone and Ms Bromley said: “We were worried that the purpose and effect of the EHRC report would be to shut down criticism of Israel by giving credence to false accusations of anti-semitism.
“Rather than fighting this case for potentially another year or more, we believe we need to refocus our resources on tackling the Israel lobby’s current efforts to stifle pro-Palestine speech in schools, universities and other sectors.”
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