Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy CorbynReuters

Under the left-wing leadership of Jeremy Corbyn, Britain's main opposition Labour party broke equality law through its "inexcusable" handling of anti-Semitism complaints, a government watchdog said in a major report published Thursday.

The report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission found damning instances where Corbyn's former leadership team underplayed, belittled or ignored complaints by Jewish members, and sometimes actively interfered to support favored allies.

In one of his first acts on replacing Corbyn in April, new Labour leader Keir Starmer apologized to Britain's Jewish community and he has vowed to accept whatever findings emerged from the two-year investigation by the EHRC.

"Our investigation has highlighted multiple areas where (Labour's) approach and leadership to tackling anti-Semitism was insufficient," the commission's interim chair, Caroline Waters, said in presenting the 129-page report.

"This is inexcusable and appeared to be a result of a lack of willingness to tackle anti-Semitism rather than an inability to do so," she said.

The commission said that under Corbyn, Labour was guilty of three breaches of Britain's 2010 Equality Act for political interference in complaints, failure to provide adequate training to those handling anti-Semitism cases and harassment of complainants.

But it stopped short of instituting legal proceedings, instead ordering Labour to draft an action plan by December 10 to remedy its failures.

Starmer was due to comment on the report later Thursday.

In a joint statement, the Board of Deputies of British Jews and two other Jewish organizations said the report was a "damning verdict on what Labour did to Jews under Jeremy Corbyn and his allies".

"Now, the task of cleaning out the problem lies with the current leadership. We welcome the start that Keir Starmer has made, but the scale of the challenge that lies ahead should not be underestimated," they said.