THE former leader of the city council was a member of a Labour Party office which “unlawfully” interfered in anti-Semitism complaints.

Nancy Platts, who is still leader of the Labour group on Brighton and Hove City Council, was a key member of the team in Jeremy Corbyn’s office.

A damning report by the human rights watchdog found the Labour Party responsible for “unlawful” harassment and discrimination of its Jewish members.

Among the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s findings was the revelation that Mr Corbyn’s office had “politically interfered” in the complaints process.

Mr Corbyn was yesterday suspended from the party over his reaction to the report.

The Argus:

Councillor Nancy Platts 

The interference between 2016 and 2019, the report found, breached the Equality Act 2010.

Councillor Platts worked in Mr Corbyn’s office as its liaison to the National Executive Committee for 18 months until March 2017.

A Labour report leaked in April showed that during this time, she was a key member in discussing complaints internally.

The commission’s report, released yesterday, said: “In July 2016, while working in the office, a decision was made to suspend Ken Livingstone ‘after conversations between the leader of the Labour Party and his staff’.

“This clearly shows the involvement of the leader, then Jeremy Corbyn, and leader of the opposition office staff in the decision to suspend Ken Livingstone.”

Under the complaints process, the staff should not have any role in decisions on complaints.

The report found political interference on 23 occasions in its sample of 70 cases, sometimes more than once in the same case.

Eight of these instances were between March 2016 and the start of March 2018.

It added: “We find that political interference in individual complaints within the Labour Party prevented its complaints process from working as it should have.

“We have concluded that this practice of political interference was unlawful.

“The evidence shows that staff from the leader of the opposition’s office were able to influence decisions on complaints, especially decisions on whether to suspend someone.

“Sometimes these decisions were made because of likely press interest rather than any clear formal criteria. The practice of political interference, between March 2016 and May 2019, indirectly discriminated against Jewish members and was unlawful.”

The Argus asked Cllr Platts whether she was involved in the decision to suspend Ken Livingstone or any of the seven other instances between March 2016 and March 2018.

We also asked whether she was aware of the office intervening in cases and whether she accepted the report’s findings in full.

We were referred to the Labour Party’s press office, which did not respond.

A Labour Party source said: “She was in position to hit the panic button and scream at the top of her voice ‘something is wrong, we’ve got to stop and think’ and she chose not to.”

Mr Corbyn’s successor as Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the report’s findings marked a “day of shame” for the party and said he was “truly sorry for all the pain and grief that has been caused”.

The Argus:

Labour leader Keir Starmer with Jeremy Corbyn

Caroline Waters, interim chairwoman of the Equality Commission, said there had been “inexcusable” failures which “appeared to be a result of a lack of willingness to tackle anti-Semitism rather than an inability to do so”.

Mr Corbyn said he did not accept all the findings and insisted he had improved the process for handling anti-Semitism complaints.

He also claimed the scale of the problem had been “dramatically overstated for political reasons by our opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media”.

The party has been served with an unlawful act notice and has been given until December 10 to draft an action plan to implement the report’s recommendations, which is legally enforceable by the courts if not fulfilled.

Peter Kyle, MP for Hove and Portslade, said: “The contents of the report were not surprising but nonetheless, reading it shocked me deeply.

“I genuinely felt pain and shame that the party I love was the cause of so much hurt for Jewish people.

“We failed them and we failed the country. This report is the best opportunity we have to turn things around definitively.”