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Friday 7 August 2020

Labour Internal Report And Legal Threats

For people serving a party that has been able to pride itself on its openness, transparency and above all adherence to democracy, Labour’s former staff are giving the impression that they have a problem with all three, as resistance among them to publication of the leaked internal report into what happened behind the scenes during the 2017 General Election campaign, and investigations into claims of anti-Semitism, builds to a crescendo.

This has been made crystal clear by those who briefed the Guardian, which has told readers “Labour report 'misused private messages to portray party members as racist’”. One suspects those quote marks are doing a significant amount of heavy lifting there. But do go on. “Labour staffers named in a leaked internal party report that claimed to show their private hostility to Jeremy Corbyn have alleged that the document misused private messages to falsely make them seem racist and sexist”. There was more.

The report said opponents hampered his efforts to tackle antisemitism in the party, and cited WhatsApp messages insulting Corbyn’s allies. Some of the messages had apparent racist or sexist overtones … In a formal submission to the inquiry, seen by the Guardian, lawyers for the accused officials say the WhatsApp messages were used selectively and edited to give a false impression. They also say the inquiry should be abandoned given the damage already caused by the leaked report”. Do they now. How convenient.
Then comes the giveaway: there has not been any legal action (yet): “[The lawyers’ submission says] the officials plan to take legal action against Labour over data protection issues and libel as well invasion of privacy and, for some staffers, breach of contract and employment, and will seek substantial damages”. PLAN. MIGHT. COULD.

Leicester East MP Claudia Webbe has made the obvious point: “If former officials thought quotes in the report - which are clearly copied and pasted from WhatsApp - were misleading, they would welcome the Forde inquiry having the chance to see the full texts. Instead, they seem to want to stop the inquiry from looking at the evidence because they fear it will confirm the accuracy of the WhatsApp messages”. She is not alone.
Jon Trickett, who represents Hemsworth, was on the same page. “If it was inaccurate, they can simply publish all their messages so we can judge for ourselves”. Diane Abbott was unimpressed. “Officials at the very top of [Labour] said stuff like ‘Abbott is truly repulsive’ ‘Abbott literally makes me sick’ and conspired with media against me. Now claiming remarks taken out of context. So let’s have full publication of all communications”.

They are right to be suspicious: today is the deadline for submissions to the Forde inquiry set up by Keir Starmer. The legal threat amplified by the Guardian could not have been been more deliberately timed in its publication. The impression had been formed by former Corbyn staffers like Joe Ryle that there had been a concerted attempt to hinder them.
The impression that Labour is being told “shine the sunlight in here and we’ll make it very expensive and time consuming for you, so best not bother if you know what’s good for you” is inescapable. For that reason alone, Labour must not buckle before the threats.

Unless this problem is confronted, Labour will not win power. I’ll just leave that one there.
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Anonymous said...

The way this seems to work is " we can call JC, Abbott and the left in general a shower of s**t but don't publish the report as it might or probably will show we called them a whole lot worse ". Damn straight they want the report quashed.

Anonymous said...

Tim has nailed it. It's this. My God. 'Former' staffers: you bastards, if true. If there's any commupance, I hope it's on it's way.

Anonymous said...


I haven't seen any denial that the so-called whistleblowers said the things attributed to them; only that the evidence was gained illegitimately. Page 41 of the report contains representative examples of abuse.

As to interference in antisemitism cases, Page 444 contains the email chain resulting in Milne responding to a REQUEST from the GLU to give his opinion on a single case. Section 4.4.7. on pages 560 to 562 contains the emails where Karie Murphy asks the GLU that she NOT be included on a case by case basis.

Can we now have an inquiry into Keeves' failed attempt to bury the report on the inquiry into accusations of antisemitism through the inquiry into the circumstances of its leaking?

Rosie said...

A propos this , have you seen the 'big donors return to Labour story' in today's Observer, designed to put two fingers up to the smaller donors, thousands of them who have doanted to Carole Morgan's Jeremy fighting fund set up over the Panorama Anti Semitism John Ware threats to sue (last standing I saw at £328,000)?

Today, Juliet Rosenfeld widow of a former big donor to Labour, is interviewed in the Observer about ‘big donors’ coming back to Labour to support Starmer. As we know, it is the little people, thousands of them who supported Corbyn. Andrew Rosenfeld, died aged 52, of lung cancer in 2015. He refused to believe he had it and flew here there and everywhere in private planes to find a cure but sadly, it was terminal and he was young. He was obviously generous to Labour but not everything was above board. He was a donor to the Labour Party - at least £1.5million which was more than JK Rowling ever gave. But the rich don’t like Corbyn and neither Rosenfeld’s second wife Juliet, nor Rowling have ever supported Jeremy. No surprise there then. Rosenfeld supported Blair and Ed Miliband. But what do we find when digging deeper that does not appear in today’s Observer story? Well, Rosefeld had been involved in the Cash for Honours scandal under Blair following an undisclosed loan to the Party, at the same time as he was being offered a peerage by Blair. One would not know that from reading the Observer which is a story designed to undermine Jeremy’s reputation, put two fingers up the the little people who supported Jeremy’s fighting fund, and says "sucks boo, we can bring in more money from one rich capitalist than you can raise in four days from thousands". Rosenfeld’s widow, his second wife, Juliet is interviewed in today’s Observer saying he and would never have donated to Labour under Corbyn (but we know Corbyn would never have offered honours for cash and loans). In 2011 , four years before he died, Rosenfeld got involved in Labour fundraising. Juliet Rosenfeld is considering supporting Starmer. No surprise there then.
Note: It is the little people who recently donated to Corbyn’s fighting fund. In contrast, Rosenfeld made his money, £100 million from selling his property company Minerva, which he co-owned. So he was a property developer and not for social housing. He was also a tax avoider in the UK setting up a company in Geneva. He supported some good charitable causes and the Labour Party. But was he willing to be put forward for a peerage for it?