The answer, sadly, came from Labour List’s Sienna Rodgers yesterday: “Labour set to name and accuse five ex-staffers - Seumas Milne, Karie Murphy, Georgie Robertson, Harry Hayball and Laura Murray - of leaking an internal report. In response, the five are ‘considering bringing legal claims against the party’”. Oh goody. More infighting.
Ms Rodgers goes on to tell “It is understood that the five accused of leaking the report have been interviewed by both investigations but neither have concluded that the five were responsible for the leak. Sources say at least 20 people had copies of the report before it was distributed widely”. Zelo Street regulars will already be familiar with the report.
It was, after all, the leaked report that put paid to any chance of Emilie Oldknow becoming the party’s general secretary, and over which she went to court in order to have the leakers identified. Sadly, her application for what is known as a Norwich Pharmacal Order failed, meaning she would be liable for all the costs. And, as those defending her application had instructed Messrs Carter Ruck, those costs were going to be expensive.
Meanwhile, the Guardian has reported that “Labour has lodged papers at the high court seeking to place responsibility for the leak on Milne, Murphy, Georgie Robertson, Laura Murray and Harry Hayball, according to lawyers for the five” before noting “It is not clear why Labour is now naming the five in legal documents, and the party on Monday declined to comment on ongoing legal action”. So who is representing the five?
Once again, that name is Carter Ruck, so once more, it is going to be expensive. And Carter Ruck has told “They strenuously deny, and have consistently denied, any involvement or complicity in the leak whatsoever. They also deny having any knowledge of who was responsible. As such, the individuals will vigorously defend themselves in the proceedings and will seek full reimbursement of their costs of doing so from the Party”.
Ominously, the press release adds “The Party apparently admits that its case against the individuals is purely circumstantial and inferential, but has failed even to set out that case properly in correspondence, despite its obligations to do so under the relevant Court Protocol … There is nothing to suggest that the Party has any more ‘evidence’ implicating the five individuals now, than it had in March”. When Ms Oldknow lost her case.
Meanwhile, the independent inquiry ordered into the leak by Keir Starmer, led by Martin Forde QC, has vanished from view. Its publication could offer the party a way out - but instead, there is to be yet more blood-letting, paid for by an ever diminishing membership, many of whom will be tiring at this spectacular succession of own goals.
We have the most inept, corrupt, venal and uncaring Government in modern history. Sadly, we also have an opposition which would rather, it seems, waste its resources on lawsuits, rather than holding that Government to account. And that’s not good enough.
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