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Former Labour London Mayor Ken Livingstone Fails In Quest To Sue EHRC Over Antisemitism Report



FORMER London mayor Ken Livingstone and ex-Labour councillor Pam Bromley, and the Human Rights Commission (EHRC) have withdrawn their lawsuits against each other and agreed that each side will cover their own costs. 

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, hoping to overturn parts of the report.

Now, however, the two politicians have accepted a deal offered by the EHRC, in which each side withdraws from the case and bears its own costs. No compensation has been paid and the report will remain unchanged.

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.”

Writing in the far-left newspaper ‘Morning Star’, Livingstone addressed the withdrawal.

“In its 2020 report into alleged anti-semitism in the Labour Party, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) claimed that we had “contributed” to Labour’s “unlawful harassment” of its Jewish members,” he wrote.

Ex-London mayor Ken Livingstone once shockingly claimed that Hitler was once a Zionist.

Ex-London mayor Ken Livingstone once shockingly claimed that Hitler was once a Zionist.

“After a lengthy legal process, in which we challenged the government quango’s finding against us, we have accepted a settlement offer made by the EHRC, bringing the judicial review to a close.

“We firmly support freedom of expression, and we were worried that the purpose of the EHRC report was to shut down criticism of Israel.

“Back when the EHRC report was published in 2020, pro-Israel activists like David Hirsh were quick to make assertions about its implications. Hirsh proclaimed: “The EHRC has crystallised a new legal precedent that the ‘Livingstone Formulation’ is anti-semitic.”

“The so-called “Livingstone Formulation,” according to Hirsh, is “the phenomenon of responding to an accusation of anti-semitism with a counter-accusation of zionist bad faith.”

“The purpose of this ridiculous notion is to silence anyone who objects to the vile dishonesty of false anti-semitism charges.

“Moreover, following the report’s publication, anti-Corbyn barrister Adam Wagner claimed that the EHRC report’s “most important legal principle” was that calling out false anti-semitism claims “was not just unlawful, it was harassment.”


“If Hirsh’s and Wagner’s claims were true, that would’ve had serious consequences for pro-Palestine campaigners in Britain, who are routinely targeted by false anti-semitism accusations in order to drive them out of public life.

“As elected politicians, we had a duty, and we had every right, to publicly state our views and opinions, including on the so-called Labour “anti-semitism crisis.” We strongly believe that the EHRC’s finding against us was erroneous and based on distorted versions of our political remarks.

“With the support of the Left Legal Fighting Fund — which assists activists, protesters and whistleblowers — we started a judicial review against the EHRC and we instructed solicitors in December 2020.

“We challenged the EHRC’s finding that our remarks about anti-semitism in Labour were not protected under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which safeguards freedom of expression.

“When we first brought the case, we initially expected it to reach court by the end of 2021. However, various delays meant that the case ran on for almost three years, which is highly unusual. In the end, there was a real prospect that there would be no judgment until 2024 and then a real possibility of an appeal taking another year.


“Faced with months if not years of more legal argument, we decided to accept a “drop hands” deal offered to us by the EHRC, in which each side withdraws from the case and bears its own costs.

Thankfully, the cost implications for us, despite a lengthy 32-month process, were much lower than the EHRC’s. We spent no more than £35,000, whereas the EHRC spent more than six times as much at over £215,000.

“We think the EHRC understood that its investigation was flawed and that it acted unlawfully in singling us out. That’s probably why the equalities watchdog was willing to settle the case without recovering a penny of its exorbitant costs.”

Livingstone wrote that there “are many reasons why we finally decided to accept the EHRC’s settlement offer. First, in spite of the bold claims made by pro-Israel activists, the EHRC report has not had its desired effect.

“The report hasn’t become a legal precedent, and the so-called “Livingstone Formulation” is simply a spurious zionist talking point that no-one takes seriously.


“Moreover, in many ways, our work has been done for us. The EHRC has been mired in scandal after scandal since it published its report in 2020. It’s a thoroughly discredited outfit and, by implication, so is its report.

“The strategic thing to do now is to redeploy our efforts and finances elsewhere.

“Pro-Israel campaigners have in recent years focused their energies on targeting pro-Palestine and anti-zionist teachers and academics — as well as students themselves — in schools and universities. These pro-Israel actors also continue to be at the forefront of campaigns against Muslims and Muslim organisations.

“There is a lot of important work to be done. We hope that others will take up the mantle and join us in the ongoing fight for freedom of expression and Palestinian liberation, and support groups like the Left Legal Fighting Fund that have helped to open a new front against those who seek to destroy our movement.”


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