John Ware, the maker of the BBC Panorama documentary “Is Labour Antisemitic”, is reportedly suing former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn for repeating libels that saw the Party reach a settlement with Mr Ware and the whistleblowers featured in the programme.
The programme, which was televised in July 2019, showed former Labour Party employees speaking out publicly to reveal Mr Corbyn’s personal meddling in disciplinary cases relating to antisemitism. The programme explained how senior Labour Party staffers, some of whom Campaign Against Antisemitism has known for years, used to run Labour’s disciplinary process independently, but soon after Mr Corbyn’s election as Party leader found themselves contending with his most senior aides, who were brazen in their efforts to subvert due process.
During the programme Labour’s press team made claims that the staffers featured had political axes to grind and lacked credibility, and the whistleblowers and Mr Ware commenced libel proceedings against the Labour Party.
This week, the Party settled the case, issuing an apology and reportedly paying damages and costs worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.
However, Mr Corbyn described the settlement as “disappointing”, saying that it “risks giving credibility to misleading and inaccurate allegations about action taken to tackle antisemitism in the Labour Party in recent years.”
It is understood that Mr Ware will now sue Mr Corbyn directly.
Mr Ware explained his motivations in an impassioned article.
Lord McNicol, a moderate who served in the role under Ed Miliband and in the first years of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, will be joining some fifty other individuals named in the report who have brought legal claims against the Party after their names were circulated on social media and far-right websites.
The report, compiled in the last weeks of Mr Corbyn’s leadership, tried to deflect from his and his allies’ failings and cast blame on staff whom it claimed were ideologically motivated to undermine Mr Corbyn. It is widely believed that the compilation and leak of the report were intended to undermine the investigation into Labour antisemitism by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). A full statutory investigation was launched by the EHRC in May 2019 following a formal referral and detailed legal representations from Campaign Against Antisemitism, which is the complainant.
Mr Ware’s and Lord McNicol’s case, as well as those of the whistleblowers, have been brought by Mark Lewis, a highly esteemed media lawyer who is also an honorary patron of Campaign Against Antisemitism.
Campaign Against Antisemitism has this week called for Mr Corbyn to be suspended from Labour after his conspiratorial statement about the legal settlement.
The damages and legal costs arising from the multiple cases arising from Labour’s antisemitism crisis could amount to millions of pounds.
In the first release of its Antisemitism in Political Parties research, Campaign Against Antisemitism showed that Labour Party candidates for Parliament in the 2019 general election accounted for 82 percent of all incidents of antisemitic discourse by parliamentary candidates.
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Antisemitism Barometer 2019 showed that antisemitism on the far-left of British politics has surpassed that of the far-right.
Campaign Against Antisemitism advocates for zero tolerance of antisemitism in public life. To that end we monitor all political parties and strive to ensure that any cases of concern are properly addressed.