FACTIONS within the Labour party treated antisemitism as a “weapon”, a long-awaited report into a leaked dossier has found.

The report makes difficult reading for all sides of the Labour Party, describing a “toxic” atmosphere fuelled by factionalism.

Martin Forde QC, a barrister and former independent adviser to the Windrush compensation scheme, was chosen by Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) to chair an inquiry into the “circumstances, contents and release” of the “internal” antisemitism dossier in 2020.

The leaked 860-page document found “no evidence” of antisemitism being handled differently from other complaints and blamed “factional opposition” towards former leader Jeremy Corbyn for hampering efforts to tackle the issue.

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Corbyn allies used the dossier to say elements of the party undermined his leadership.

Labour said on Tuesday that its general secretary had received the “Forde report” into the dossier and was due to take it to an NEC meeting. It has since been published online.

The foreword to the Forde report, published on Tuesday afternoon, said: “The evidence clearly demonstrated that a vociferous faction in the party sees any issues regarding antisemitism as exaggerated by the right to embarrass the left.

“It was of course also true that some opponents of Jeremy Corbyn (below) saw the issue of antisemitism as a means of attacking him.

“Thus, rather than confront the paramount need to deal with the profoundly serious issue of antisemitism in the party, both factions treated it as a factional weapon.”

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The foreword also said the investigation found the disciplinary process was “not fit for purpose” and “potentially prone to factional interference”.

“For example, there was a complete lack of any auditable database of cases, which meant the party could not, at any given moment, collate accurate information on the number of complaints which were then pending, or which had been disposed of, and the stage that the live matters had reached,” it said.

However it did say “many aspects of the party’s recent reforms of disciplinary procedures” were to be applauded, and the changes were “generally steps in the right direction”.

The foreword called for “constructive engagement” with the findings in the 138-page review.

“There is a culture of intellectual smugness which exists at the extremes of the political spectrum the party represents,” it said.

“In the past this has led to the dismissal of valid, albeit sometimes uncomfortable, views. It must now come to an end.”

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The report also describes the Labour Party as harbouring a “toxic” atmosphere fuelled by factionalism.

It said: “We understand the intensity of anger amongst many of the membership at the contents of, in particular, the WhatsApp messages cited in the leaked report. Our focus, though, is on how such a toxic situation arose and (more importantly) how it can be avoided in the future.

“One of the tragedies of this period for the party is that so many have lost sight of the humanity of those who they see as being in an opposing faction, which is perhaps easier than ever in an age where so much of our communication takes place at arms-length through a screen.”

The report backed the conclusion of a Labour Together report, which found that the party has “spent substantial periods of the last five years in conflict with itself”.

It said: “We believe there is a clear need for individuals to see and treat each other better, regardless of their political views.”

A party spokesperson said: “The Forde report details a party that was out of control.

“Keir Starmer is now in control and has made real progress in ridding the party of the destructive factionalism and unacceptable culture that did so much damage previously and contributed to our defeat in 2019.”

Initially, the terms of reference said the investigative panel chaired by Forde would “use their best endeavours” to deliver the report to Labour by July 2020, but it has taken two years to come to fruition.

In March this year, Forde wrote to Labour’s general secretary to tell him the content of his review had been finalised, and all that was still needed was “detailed checking for legal and factual accuracy prior to publication”.