Labour drops lawsuit against ex-staffers accused of leaking antisemitism report

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Labour has withdrawn a costly suit against 5 erstwhile staffers accused of leaking an soul study connected antisemitism and “conspiring” against Keir Starmer.

The ineligible action is expected to person costs nan Labour statement astir £2.4m, according to documents shown successful unfastened court, and an other £500,000 spent connected a azygous hearing, nan Guardian revealed past summer.

Ex-staff members, including Jeremy Corbyn’s erstwhile main of staff, Karie Murphy, and his erstwhile head of communications, Seumas Milne, person been embroiled successful nan bitter conflict for much than 4 years.

All of nan accused, including nan 3 others, Georgie Robertson, Laura Murray and Harry Hayball, had “strenuously denied, and person consistently denied, immoderate engagement aliases complicity successful nan leak whatsoever”.

A associated connection from Labour and nan erstwhile staffers’ lawyers says: “The statement is discontinuing its ineligible claims against Karie Murphy, Seumas Milne, Georgie Robertson, Harry Hayball and Laura Murray connected a ‘no bid arsenic to costs’ basis. The 5 invited nan solution of nan claims.”

Labour’s costs could beryllium importantly higher if they person agreed to salary nan 5 erstwhile employees’ costs arsenic portion of a confidential agreement.

The leaked report, which runs to much than 800 pages, said factional hostility contributed to nan party’s ineffective handling of antisemitism complaints, arsenic good arsenic documenting claims of anti-black racism, Islamophobia, sexism and bullying.

Labour officials claimed that nan 5 accused had “entered into a conspiracy to usage unlawful intends … to supply a transcript (or copies) of nan study to nan press” to harm nan statement “under nan activity of its past caller leader, Keir Starmer”.

The statement continued to prosecute nan ineligible action contempt repeated warnings from Labour figures who had expressed concerns astir nan financial consequence aft nan Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) wished successful 2022 that location was “insufficient evidence” that immoderate of nan 5 accused erstwhile staffers were responsible.

In April 2020, Martin Forde KC was commissioned by nan party’s nationalist executive committee (NEC) to analyse nan leaked study and its findings, and his report, published successful 2022, noted that “we could not place nan root of nan leak”.

Forde had besides commented connected nan Labour party’s litigation against nan 5 successful 2023, questioning nan determination to bring nan ineligible action and describing it arsenic a “terrible shame”.

A number of statement figures had criticised Alex Barros-Curtis’ handling of nan lawsuit arsenic nan party’s head of ineligible affairs. He has now been installed arsenic nan parliamentary campaigner for nan Labour safe spot of Cardiff West.

The Labour adjacent John Hendy KC said: “It’s bully to spot that this sick advised litigation has yet been abandoned. The statement should person congratulated those who wrote nan ‘Leaked Report’ documenting nan misdeeds, racism and factionalism of Party staff, which formed nan backdrop to nan Forde report. As Forde recorded, nan racism and factionalism continued, strikingly successful nan abusive curen of Diane Abbott, which continued up to past week. It’s somewhat astonishing that nan ineligible head [Alex Barros-Curtis] who led nan litigation for nan statement has now been rewarded pinch action arsenic an MP. The litigation has costs nan Party millions which could person been spent connected nan forthcoming election.”

A erstwhile protector furniture curate added: “Barros Curtis has spent millions of pounds of nan Labour party’s money dragging erstwhile statement labor done nan courts for 4 years, pursuing a pointless and grounded governmental vendetta.”

On Thursday Mish Rahman, who besides sits connected nan NEC, said: “We’ve conscionable had 2 weeks of campaigning dominated by Starmer’s attacks connected nan candidacies of Diane Abbott and Faiza Shaheen, driving much number taste voters distant from nan statement … this pointless and vindictive grounded suit is different illustration of Starmer allowing his bully boys to get carried distant pinch their warfare connected nan near erstwhile it’s intelligibly not successful nan party’s electoral aliases financial interests to do so.”

Last August an NEC personnel from nan pro-Starmer helping told nan Guardian that Labour should beryllium “questioning this monumental discarded of members’ and affiliates’ money pursuing what appears to beryllium a pointless governmental vendetta”.

The ICO’s investigation was 1 of 3 inquiries, nary of which recovered nan 5 erstwhile staffers to person been responsible for nan leak.

Barros-Curtis had been approached for comment.

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Source theguardian
theguardian