Justice Minister should question Commissioner's commitment to fighting bigotry

Sun, 28 Apr, 2019

The Justice Minister should question the Chief Human Rights Commissioner’s commitment to fighting bigotry after he failed to condemn the anti-Semitism of UK Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

Paul Hunt unsuccessfully stood for a position in the UK Labour Party as a Corbyn-aligned candidate last year.

Jeremy Corbyn has been criticised for expressing solidarity with an artist who used anti-Semitic tropes in a London mural. In March, his deputy, Tom Watson, received a dossier from parliamentary colleagues of fifty complaints on anti-Semitism that he felt hadn't been dealt with adequately. Nine MPs recently quit Labour, in part over anti-Semitism.

"Asked yesterday to condemn Corbyn’s anti-Semitism by Kim Hill, Hunt failed miserably, instead weakly suggesting that all prejudice was bad", says Mr Seymour.

"It is deeply troubling that the bureaucrat charged with tackling racism in New Zealand cannot bring himself to condemn his former leader’s bigotry.

"Mr Hunt appears to believe that prejudice is acceptable when it is committed by people who share his political beliefs.

"The Human Rights Commission will play a significant role in shaping draft 'hate speech' laws. How can we trust Mr Hunt to not use the exercise to try to censor views he doesn’t like?

"Will the Justice Minister defend Mr Hunt’s refusal to condemn Corbyn’s anti-Semitism, or will he ‘give nothing’ to racism and prejudice as his own Human Rights Commission demands?

"Mr Little needs to question whether the Chief Human Rights Commissioner is truly committed to fighting prejudice, or whether he is simply a left-wing hack. If the latter, the Minister needs to rescind his appointment."