Shami attacking grammar schools and singing the praises of comprehensive education on Question Time last night, claiming that her state schooling got her into the Lords. Now there’s a compelling argument for education reform…
What the Shadow Attorney General failed to mention – leaving viewers entirely none the wiser – is that she chose to send her own son to the academically selective, £18,000-a-year Dulwich College – not just a private school, but one of the very best and most competitive in the country. One rule for the many, another for the few…
Shadow Attorney General Shami Chakrabarti has made clear Labour would not act against the Assad regime even if OPCW inspectors found evidence of chemical weapons use in Douma. Appearing on the Today programme, Shami was asked what a Labour government would do if UN inspectors confirmed the position of Western governments. She refused to address the question before saying:
“You can’t use force under international law just to punish Syria for bad behaviour.”
John Woodcock weighed in:
Listened to the Today Programme. I wish my frontbench would spend even a fraction of the energy on Assad and Russia’s grotesque slaughter of civilians as they are on inventing new reasons to oppose targeted UK intervention to stop it.
Following reports that Labour are on the cusp of lifting Ken Livingstone’s suspension, Shami Chakrabarti refused to rule out his re-admittance to full membership but said he should face further investigation before any decision is made. Asked if there was a place in Labour for Livingstone, Chakrabarti didn’t rule out his return saying:
“Well, obviously I’m not judge and jury… he has been suspended for some time but equally people report he has said things and done things since that suspension and that is something the NEC is going to have to look at.”
Subsequent comments since Livingstone’s suspension include those he made on Iran’s Press TV on Holocaust Memorial Day, on a programme discussing: “Has the Holocaust been exploited to oppress others?”
There was confusion at the top of the Labour Party yesterday as officials realised Ken’s suspension was due to expire in April. In a storm of controversy and amid a revolt by PLP moderates, the party hurriedly announced a new probe (to which Shami is referring), based on an old promise first made by Jeremy Corbyn ten months ago. Until now, that probe appeared to have been quietly dropped, with no action taken against Ken. Meanwhile, Corbyn claims to be serious about tackling anti-Semitism…
Labour’s Shami Chakrabarti said she was “very disappointed” by Gavin Williamson’s comments about killing so-called Islamic State fighters this week. The Labour peer this morning described “targeted assassinations” of “criminals” – presumably IS fighters – as “appalling”. The new Defence Secretary said in an interview earlier this week:
“Quite simply, my view is a dead terrorist can’t cause any harm to Britain. I do not believe that any terrorist, whether they come from this country or any other, should ever be allowed back into this country. We should do everything we can do to destroy and eliminate that threat.”
On Thursday night Shami Chakrabarti told Question Time Labour dealt with Jared O’Mara as soon as they became aware of the allegations last week. Diane Abbott repeated this line on Marr this morning. It isn’t true. Guido first published the O’Mara sexism stories in June, the other allegations were put to Labour last month. They knew for weeks and didn’t do anything. Labour keep saying they have a zero tolerance policy – they don’t, every party tolerates it…
Shami Chakrabarti didn’t really have a grasp of the detail on Ridge but she made clear Labour would not take back control of borders and would support the continuation of free movement in some form:
“We haven’t said we’d have control of free movement of people, you can’t necessarily have control… what’s important is that jobs come first, the economy comes first and that means getting tariff-free access to the single market… There’s a lot of room for negotiation about what types of free movement, what kinds of priority… It’s possible for friendly countries in and outside Europe to give priority for certain nationals.”
Not quite what they said in their manifesto… going to alienate a lot of Labour’s working class Northern vote…
Twitter and Facebook are full of hundreds of crackers Corbynistas claiming the JTAC decision to raise the threat level is part of some conspiracy to hurt Jez’s election chances. Here is Sam Kriss, a prominent pro-Corbyn journalist for Vice:
i’m sure absolutely no political calculation went into the decision to put Strong Decisive Army Men on the streets weeks before the election
“Ken Livingstone’s comments have been grossly insensitive, and he has caused deep offence and hurt to the Jewish community.
“Labour’s independently elected National Constitutional Committee has found Ken guilty of bringing the party into disrepute and suspended him for two years.
“It is deeply disappointing that, despite his long record of standing up to racism, Ken has failed to acknowledge or apologise for the hurt he has caused. Many people are understandably upset that he has continued to make offensive remarks which could open him to further disciplinary action.
“Since initiating the disciplinary process, I have not interfered with it and respect the independence of the party’s disciplinary bodies. But Ken’s subsequent comments and actions will now be considered by the National Executive Committee after representations from party members.”
Guido has just broken the news of Corbyn’s statement over the phone to Ken. His response to the news that Jez has referred him to the NEC:
“That’ll be interesting. It doesn’t matter at the end of the day because we are subject to British law. You’re not going to get a British judge to rule against me for telling the truth. It may be that they have been following all the tweets accusing me of being anti-Semitic, I’ll find out when I speak to Jeremy.”
The BBC is reporting that a British former Guantanamo Bay detainee turned ISIS fighter has carried out a suicide bombing in Iraq. Abu-Zakariya al-Britani was formerly known as Jamal al-Harith and before that Ronald Fiddler. In 2004 al-Harith was released from Guantanamo after intense lobbying by the Blair government, who said he was mistreated. At the time Shami Chakrabarti, the then head of Liberty, said she was “delighted” that al-Harith and four other detainees were being released:
“We are delighted that the five have been released, but let us not forget those that are remaining. Nor should we forget that Britain has its very own Guantanamo Bay at Belmarsh Prison, in south-east London, where 14 men have been held for up to two years without charge, or prospect of trial, on suspicion of being associated with terrorism. At long last the Americans have done the honourable thing and released their detainees.”
The then Home Secretary David Blunkett insisted“No one who is returned … will actually be a threat to the security of the British people”. The infamous CAGE group gave him this glowing reference:
“His family say he is a gentle, quiet man who rarely spoke of his faith unless asked, and after four years learning Arabic and teaching English at Khartoum University in Sudan, he seemed happy enough to return home where he started to study nursing… He was released from Guantanamo and returned to the UK on 9th March 2004. After a few hours of questioning he was released without charge and reunited with his family.”
13 years later and al-Harith had joined ISIS and detonated a car bomb at an Iraqi base in Mosul…
The downfall of disgraced tank chasing lawyer Phil Shiner is particularly awkward for one hard-left Labour comrade. Shiner is close friends with Shami Chakrabarti, the pair collaborated extensively when she was director at Liberty.
In 2007 Shami and Shiner worked together on cases of Iraqi abuse allegations, telling the media that abuse by British troops was not a case of a “few bad apples” but “systemic”.
“His relentless work on behalf of the families of British soldiers and Iraqi civilians demonstrates the even-handedness of human rights.”
In 2011, at the conclusion of the Baha Mousa inquiry, Shami said that Shiner and his team of lawyers had
“brought honour to their profession”
Shami’s support for Shiner continued well after the allegations against him came to light. In 2015 Shami suggested Shiner was the victim of a witch hunt by the government:
“I know the dangers of governments threatening human rights lawyers for their work. It happens in dark parts of the world and is not good for the rule of law.”
Shiner has now admitted encouraging vexatious claims against British troops and been found guilty of five counts of dishonesty, and has been struck off the roll. “Brought honour to his profession” according to the Shadow Attorney General…
Jeremy Corbyn has been strongly condemned by the Home Affairs Select Committee for failing to understand anti-Semitism and creating a “safe space” for racists in the Labour Party. The inquiry’s damning findings are laid out in as severe language as you will ever see from a select committee:
“Despite his proud record on fighting racism, the Committee is not persuaded that Mr Corbyn fully appreciates the distinct nature of contemporary antisemitism, and the fact that it is perfectly possible for an ‘anti-racist campaigner’ to express antisemitic views. His lack of consistent leadership on this issue has created what some have referred to as a ‘safe space’ for those with vile attitudes towards Jewish people, exacerbated by the Party’s demonstrable incompetence at dealing with members accused of antisemitism.”
Much of the committee’s evidence is based on stories published by Guido, its report references this site’s revelations on Naz Shah, Salim Mulla, Vicki Kirby, Seumas Milne and others. The committee also reserves criticism for Shami Chakrabarti, describing her own anti-Semitism inquiry as “compromised” and questioning its independence. The report concludes Labour is now “an unwelcoming place for Jewish members”.
There is also strong condemnation of Tim Farron and the Liberal Democrats’ dire response to anti-Semitism, following Guido’s stories on former MP and current LibDem councillor David Ward:
“We were disappointed by the manner in which their Leader, Tim Farron, referred to disciplinary processes rather than explicitly condemning antisemitic remarks made by members of his Party, and we were surprised to learn that Cllr David Ward remains an elected representative of the Liberal Democrats, despite his repeated antisemitic comments… He denied that Cllr Ward was a “repeat offender” and said that it was “very tricky” to judge whether an individual has been antisemitic or “just provocative and offensive”.”
On Sunday Shami Chakrabarti tried to excuse her hypocrisy on grammar schools by telling viewers about her “nice big house”. As ever Guido takes you Through the Keyhole, inside the £2.5 million Grade II-listed home Baroness Chakrabarti owns in South London.
The luxurious property contains no less than SIX bedrooms and FOUR bathrooms, as well as its own courtyard outside the sliding doors behind the ultra-modern dining area.
Shami bought the house with her husband for £1.4 million in 2010. They then divorced, she became the sole owner, and the property has added a million quid to its value since then.
All eyes on Labour’s new Shadow Attorney General when the House of Lords votes on Theresa May’s Investigatory Powers Bill this week. Last year, when she was a principled defender of civil liberties as director of Liberty, Shami strongly opposed the Snooper’s Charter. She said last November:
“Our every move is already tracked by CCTV cameras, but if the draft Investigatory Powers Bill becomes law, we won’t be safe from the prying eyes of the government and the police.”
In February she added:
“The Government needs to pause, take stock and redraft. The case for unprecedented powers to bulk hack, intercept and collect our private data has not been made.”
Labour are now briefing that Shami will follow the whip and abstain on the vote this week. Is there anything Baroness Chakrabarti won’t say or do in exchange for her gong?