Shami chakrabarti

Why schools should stay shut

Has the stock of any politician fallen more sharply, these past three or four years, than that of Shami Chakrabarti? As the leader of Liberty, and an almost weekly performer on the BBC’s Question Time, she was a respected purveyor of leftish sanctimony to the masses, a humourless voice of conscience and, I think, self-regard. The battles she fought then were at least, in the main, on the side of decency — and while we might have found her a little trying and even bumptious, there seemed no doubt that here was a young woman motivated by principle. That notion was swiftly expunged when she accepted a brief from Jeremy

Shami Chakrabarti’s new support for independent inquiries

Mr Steerpike couldn’t help but do a double take this afternoon when Labour shadow attorney general Shami Chakrabarti suggested that the government should launch an independent judge-led inquiry into allegations of historical torture. In a Labour press release, Baroness Chakrabarti of Kennington lamented the fact that the government had missed a self-imposed deadline to form an inquiry and opined: ‘After eight years and two inadequate inquiries fettered by Whitehall interference, a fully independent judge-led inquiry is the only way to bring comprehensive resolution to this scandal.’ While the formation of an inquiry might be sensible, Mr S wonders if Chakrabarti is best placed to decide what an independent investigation should

When did British voters start rewarding anti-Semitism?

One of the interesting things about ‘diversity’ is that it allows almost anything to happen. Consider Naz Shah, the MP for Bradford West. As I have said before, there is something strange about Bradford, because the city has managed in recent years to elect representatives of three parties. These include the Labour party (Naz Shah), the Liberal Democrat party (David Ward) and the Respect party (George Galloway). Fascinatingly all seem interested in similar themes. Why might that be? But back to Naz Shah. In the last Parliament it was this Labour MP who plunged her party into crisis. The public exposure of her anti-Semitic, racist comments on social media led

Shami Chakrabarti becomes persona non grata with the PLP

Tonight’s Parliamentary Labour Party meeting began with loud cheers. As with most PLP meetings nowadays, these weren’t directed at the Labour leader and nor was Jeremy Corbyn around to hear them. Corbyn had earlier sent his apologies that he was unable to make the first PLP meeting since the party’s defeat in Copeland due to a prior engagement. In his absence, Gareth Snell — the new Stoke-on-Trent Central MP — was given a rousing reception, as was Andrew Gwynne — the MP behind the by-election campaigns. When Gwynne attempted to take some of the blame for his party’s loss in Copeland, he was shouted down by supportive colleagues who said that he had done everything he could. MPs,

Shami Chakrabarti and Peter Whittle play the by-election blame game

Shami Chakrabarti and Peter Whittle would probably furiously deny playing by the same political rules. But this morning on the Andrew Marr Show, the Labour peer and Ukip politician were both using suspiciously similar scripts to try to excuse poor performances by their party leaders in Thursday’s by-elections. First up, Peter Whittle on how Paul Nuttall managed to squander a golden opportunity in Stoke Central. Nuttall was on a trip, of the kind that apparently often happens after a by-election, so he couldn’t explain for himself. Whittle referred to personal attacks on Nuttall. There were plenty of those in the campaign, but these were merely ones that involved uncovering the truth

Baroness Chakrabarti, the champagne socialist

As the House of Lords begins to debate the government’s Article 50 bill, Baroness Chakrabarti appears to have used the week before to relax and recharge. Eye Spy MP reports that Shami was spied in the Grosvenor Hotel with a glass of fizz. Shami, keeping champagne socialism alive, at the Grosvenor Hotel, Victoria. — Eye Spy MP (@eyespymp) February 20, 2017 Unkind souls have suggested she was drinking champagne while parliament was sitting. But Mr S would like to defend her honour: champagne is clearly a drink Baroness Chakrabarti reserves for drinking during parliamentary recess. It’s good to see Jeremy Corbyn’s team are doing what they can to brush off the party’s metropolitan

Why isn’t Shami Chakrabarti campaigning for Lord Shinkwin’s Abortion Bill?

Lord Shinkwin’s Abortion (Disability Equality) Bill has its second reading in the Lord next Friday. I hadn’t heard of it either, and the campaign behind it, ‘We’re All Equal’, had passed me by, until a friend with an interest in disability issues told me about it. The gist is that it would remove the following bits of the 1967 Abortion Act – section 1 (1) (d) and section 5 (2)(d). Which means what? Why, that the most egregious piece of discrimination in law against disabled people would be done away with, viz, that there’s one cutoff point for normal foetuses to be aborted, none at all for disabled ones. Right

Sorry, Shami, but you’re wasting your money

I’ve been thinking about poor Shami Chakrabarti and the drubbing she’s suffered since it was revealed she’s sending her son to Dulwich College. She joins a long line of Labour hypocrites who are opposed to grammar schools but choose to send their own children to selective schools. The list includes Harold Wilson, James Callaghan, Tony Crosland, Polly Toynbee, Diane Abbott, Harriet Harman and Seumus Milne. My issue with these Labour grandees is not so much the double standards, although that does stick in the craw, obviously, but the stupidity. Why risk their political credibility and, for those that go private, beggar themselves, when there’s little reason to suppose that their

Labour’s frontbench hypocrisy on grammar schools

On Sunday, Shami Chakrabarti was forced to use an appearance on Peston on Sunday to claim that she was not a hypocrite after the topic of grammar schools was raised. The issue? Although the shadow attorney general is vocal in her opposition to selective education in the state, she sent her own son to a selective fee-paying school. Shami Chakrabarti defends herself against claims of hypocrisy on the issue of selective education. #Peston — Peston (@itvpeston) October 9, 2016 While Chakrabarti insists that buying choice for herself while denying people without money the same option does not make her a hypocrite — explaining that as she is rich she is

Watch: Andrew Neil grills Shami Chakrabarti over her peerage

Although David Cameron faced flak over his resignation honours list, it was Jeremy Corbyn’s decision to give the chair of his anti-Semitism inquiry a peerage that attracted the most criticism. Today Shami Chakrabarti — now Baroness Chakrabarti of Kennington — appeared on the Daily Politics where Andrew Neil. While she freely admitted that her findings were yet to be ‘fully implemented’, she also praised Corbyn’s ‘greater ever mandate’. When it was put to her that quite a lot of members and Jewish groups had suggested her report was a whitewash, she replied that she was sorry not ‘everyone’ agreed with ‘everything’ she said. However, it was Neil’s questions regarding the

Shami Chakrabarti makes her Lords debut

Although David Cameron’s resignation honours were widely criticised for cronyism, it’s fair to say that Jeremy Corbyn’s one appointment to the House of Lords caused just as much upset. The Labour leader was accused of a conflict of interest for giving Shami Chakrabarti a peerage after she chaired his anti-Semitism inquiry. Apparently unfazed by the negative publicity, Baroness Chakrabarti of Kennington was introduced into the Lords today. Alas, it seems she couldn’t find reason to smile.

Letters | 25 August 2016

Golden age problems Sir: Johan Norberg’s ‘Our golden age’ (20 August) is absolutely right — we do live in a golden age; antibiotics still work, we have less starvation, the world is open for trade, with all its benefits. But there is a fly in the ointment: human overpopulation. Global warming (if you believe in it), degradation of the environment, extinction of species, all are consequences of it. It is a result, in fact, of our success. The only country to have grasped the nettle — China — is now having second thoughts. Perhaps wind and solar power can provide for our needs when we are 70 million in these islands; but what when

The honour that truly stinks came from Corbyn

Another honours list comes and goes and yet again my name is not on it. I don’t think either the Prime Minister or Jeremy Corbyn realises the hurt that this flagrant oversight engenders, both in myself and of course in my public. For countless years I have tried, selflessly, to make the world a better place, to illuminate the poor and the downtrodden with the light of love. I have endeavoured, wherever I can, in my own way, to bring comfort to the sick — not only those who are physically infirm, but also mentals. And yet — nothing, nix. More pertinently, with regard to the latest honours list from

Will Labour finally stop sweeping anti-Semitism under the carpet?

In February, the co-chair of the Oxford University Labour Club, Alex Chalmers, resigned after having publicly accused the Club of harbouring and articulating rank prejudice against Jews and other minority groups. Mr Chalmers – who is not Jewish – declared that a ‘large proportion’ of Club members had ‘some kind of problem with Jews‘. He also suggested that individual members of the Club’s executive had employed offensive language ‘with casual abandon’, and that some had gone so far as to voice support for Hamas, the terrorist organisation that currently controls Gaza and which is proud to be governed by a charter that calls upon its followers to murder Jewish people. These

Corbyn’s gong for Chakrabarti is his biggest own goal yet

It is beginning to look like a bit of a trend this year: the Conservatives get themselves into a tight spot, only for Labour to trump them quickly. Just as the Tories seemed to be descending into a bitter leadership crisis on the weekend after the referendum, half the shadow cabinet resigned. Now, just as David Cameron was being mauled from all quarters over the cronies in his resignation honours list (including from the presumably not soon-to-be Lord Hilton), Jeremy Corbyn has directed attention to himself by ennobling Shami Chakrabarti, formerly of human rights group Liberty. The appointment is embarrassing three times over. Firstly, because he said last year: ‘Labour

Corbyn gives chair of Labour’s anti-Semitism inquiry a peerage

Although Jeremy Corbyn has previously suggested that he is against the creation of new peers, the Labour leader appears to take a different approach when it comes to the chair of his anti-Semitism inquiry. After weeks of speculation that Corbyn was poised to give Shami Chakrabarti — who recently found that the party was not overrun with anti-Semitism — a peerage, today the news has been confirmed in the official resignation honours list: In a statement on the decision, Labour say they are ‘delighted’ to confirm Chakrabarti’s appointment to the House of Lords. They refrain, however, from addressing concerns that this suggests a conflict of interest. It’s particularly awkward timing given that

James Forsyth

Corbyn joins Cameron in giving peerages to pals

David Cameron’s resignation honours have now been published—and it is an extensive list. Cameron has nominated 13 people for peerages including his former chief of staff Ed Llewellyn, the former head of his policy unit Camilla Cavendish and his former head of operations Liz Sugg. The current treasurer of the Tory party Andrew Farmer is another heading to the red benches. But Michael Spencer, the former Tory treasurer and head of ICAP, is not on the list. As the Sunday Times revealed last week, there will be honours for many of Cameron’s closest allies and those who worked with him at Number 10. George Osborne becomes a Companion of Honour.

Will Labour convict me of thought crime?

I got an email this week, from a chap called Harry, which began as follows: ‘I am writing to inform you that I will be carrying out the investigation on behalf of the Labour party into the circumstances that resulted in your suspension from the party.’ Harry went on to say that he will be ‘conducting interviews with witnesses’ and added: ‘I will also need a time when you are available for an interview.’ This last presumably as an afterthought: I suppose we need to hear from him. Anyway, at this interview (to be conducted in London, natch) I am allowed to bring along a ‘silent witness’ —someone who is not

Farewell Shami Chakrabarti, leading figure of the New Establishment

So farewell, Shami Chakrabarti. The woman is stepping down as boss of Liberty, for whom – whatever your political views – she has been a hugely effective campaigner. And, further credit: for a comprehensive school girl from an ethnic minority to have achieved so much is pretty laudable, I would argue. I don’t suppose we’ll be seeing much less of her. She holds more job titles than an African dictator. Here’s her CV entry from Wiki: Chakrabarti is Chancellor of the University of Essex, Visiting Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford, Honorary Fellow of Mansfield College, Oxford and a Master of the Bench of Middle Temple. She has served as Chancellor of

The Women’s Prize for Fiction deserves a better drink than Baileys

Well, as a mere PR exercise, the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, awarded last night, has done really well, what with the American woman from Diageo (owner of Baileys) causing Ian Hislop to fall asleep while standing up during her speech. I haven’t a clue whether Ali Smith’s book, How To Be Both, about sexuality-shifting, is any use, though I am still recovering from reading last year’s winner, Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half-formed Thing, which is sort of James Joyce, only with really gross stuff about sexual abuse. It’s nice and short though. Two questions to ask about the prize. One, why was Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty,