Jeremy Corbyn could face legal action after criticising Labour antisemitism apology
Jeremy Corbyn could be facing legal action after the ex-Labour leader claimed the party’s decision to pay a journalist damages risked “giving credibility to misleading and inaccurate allegations”.
The Labour Party on Wednesday apologised to a group of whistleblowers who contributed to a TV investigation into its handling of antisemitism claims under Mr Corbyn‘s leadership.
Seven former employees from Labour’s governance and legal unit – who contributed to a BBC Panorama programme – had sued the party after it issued a press release describing them as having “personal and political axes to grind”.
It followed the programme’s broadcast in July 2019.
As well as apologising to the whistleblowers at a brief High Court hearing, Labour said it would pay “substantial damages” and accepted press statements made against them last year were “defamatory and false”.
Labour also apologised and agreed to pay damages to the journalist who presented the Panorama investigation, John Ware, for falsely accusing him of “deliberate and malicious misrepresentations designed to mislead the public”.
However, opening up a major rift with his successor Sir Keir Starmer, Mr Corbyn described the party’s decision to apologise and make payments to the former staff as a “political decision, not a legal one”.
“The decision to settle these claims in this way is disappointing, and risks giving credibility to misleading and inaccurate allegations about action taken to tackle antisemitism in the Labour Party in recent years,” Mr Corbyn said in a statement.
He added that “legal advice was that the party had a strong defence”.
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