Welcome To Zelo Street!

This is a blog of liberal stance and independent mind

Monday 1 March 2021

Emilie Oldknow - That’s Going To Hurt

Once touted as a future Labour Party General Secretary, Emilie Oldknow, formerly the party’s director for governance, membership and party services, had her reputation severely dented by the leak last April of an internal report into handling of complaints of anti-Semitism. To that denting can now be added a non-trivial legal bill.

Emilie Oldknow

It was in the wake of the report leak that the Jewish Chronicle told “The libel lawyer Mark Lewis is applying for a court order against the Labour Party on behalf of a client to force it to divulge who leaked the antisemitism report last April, so they can be sued. The move, known as a Norwich Pharmacal Order, has previously been used against social media companies such as Twitter to get them supply the names of anonymous users”.

The Guardian reported thatA former senior Labour staffer has taken the party to court in an attempt to force it to disclose the identity of the leaker of a report on antisemitism in the party that contained hundreds of private WhatsApp messages … One of those named in the report, Emilie Oldknow … demanded in a court hearing on Monday that the names of the leakers be revealed in order to give her the option of taking legal action against them”.

As Private Eye might have put it, I wonder if the two are in any way related? I think we should be told. Lawman Lewis has, in the past, threatened the use of Norwich Pharmacal orders. But then came the judgment, and for Ms Oldknow, and whoever she had instructed, the moment of reality. She lost. And that meant she would have to pay costs.

The Guardian was, once again, on hand to bring the news. “The alleged leakers of a controversial Labour party report into its handling of antisemitism should not be named because it would risk harm to potentially innocent individuals, the high court has ruled. The case was brought by the former senior Labour staffer Emilie Oldknow”.

It got worse. “Oldknow has been ordered to pay the Labour party’s costs and has been refused permission to appeal … Five anonymous individuals, represented by the trade union Unite, who deny any responsibility for the leak, were also represented at the hearing”. So she’ll most likely have to stump up for their costs, too. And there was more.

Ms Justice Tipples said that Oldknow’s claim ‘smacks of a fishing expedition, so that the claimant can cast around to identify potential defendants’ to sue … ‘In my view, if the Labour party is required to identify individuals … It will be doing no more than identifying a list of who it reasonably believes are to be the culprits … There is therefore no certainty that the information sought will lead to the identification of the wrongdoer or wrongdoers’”.

One of yours, Mark? Not like you to lose, is it?

And more. "She said there would be ‘a very real potential to cause harm to any innocent persons as they will then find themselves threatened with legal proceedings, which they will then have to defend’”. At considerable expense. And talking of considerable expense, Unite The Union had instructed Messrs Carter Ruck. That means it’s expensive.

Also, another thought occurs: next month marks a year since the revelations of the leaked report. So anyone wanting to sue for defamation may be out of time. Especially as the request to appeal the Judge’s decision was refused - which means that is that.

Even the greatest lawyers come unstuck eventually. I’ll just leave that one there.

Enjoy your visit to Zelo Street? You can help this truly independent blog carry on talking truth to power, while retaining its sense of humour, by adding to its Just Giving page at



Anonymous said...

And the report still stands.

Apparently some right wing party apparatchiks were worse than tories: lying, being racist, betraying members and leadership, sabotaging the election.



Well I never.

So what did Oldknow know and when did she know it?

Asking for all supporters of democracy.

Anonymous said...

The Guardian omitted that Emilie Oldknow is the wife of Labour shadow health secretary Jonathon Ashworth. Its not a minor detail. It's either bad journalism or they are hiding the fact. Also describe the leaked report into antisemitism as controversial. It sure is. Its probably one of the biggest political scandals ever in the uk of how Labour party staffers conspired to lose a general election and destroy its leader handing power to the Tories for another 5 years.
And now the Forde report has now been delayed indefinitely.
What has happened to the Labour party?

Steve Woods said...

According to an article on Labour List, the judge ordered Ms Oldknow "to pay part of Unite’s costs relating to the failed application", so it looks like she won't be paying the full whack for Carter Ruck's premium price services.

Jonathan said...

Emile Oldknow, now of UNISON has the backing of Dave 'the Snake' Prentis, no doubt, Prentis will authorise low paid workers money diverted to pay Labour's and part of UNITE's costs.

How Oldknow has escaped disciplinary action or even a police investigation really is a mystery. She must have friends in high places!

Is this disillusion? said...

Best guess is Emile or UNISON members will be paying somewhere near £200k.

On the grapevine, Sir Quiff of the Establishment is 'steaming' with the judgement.. 😂
Great result, let's hope Jeremy wins his court case against Starmer and Evans.

Anonymous said...

For those who think the Quiff Gang aren't far right tories...a reminder...

Anonymous said...

Given her behaviour, guess what kind of General Secretary she would have made... especially with red tory hubby Ashworth to advise her...