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Labour hits back at Panorama's ‘seriously inaccurate’ documentary

The party vows to pursue complaints ‘at all levels’ of the corporation

LABOUR is standing its ground against the BBC for broadcasting a “seriously inaccurate” documentary which “breached basic journalistic standards,” the party said yesterday.

The party has hit out at the Beeb for broadcasting “Is Labour Anti-Semitic?” on Wednesday night, and has vowed to pursue complaints “at all levels” of the corporation.

In the hour-long programme, former members of Labour’s compliance unit, which gained notoriety in 2015 for expelling scores of Labour members who supported leader Jeremy Corbyn for unclear reasons, claimed that the party was institutionally anti-semitic.

Sam Matthews, the former head of the team, said he had even contemplated suicide because of the stress he suffered in the job.

Labour supporters on social media pointed out that several witnesses on the show were exposed on the Al Jazeera documentary The Lobby, which showed the attempts of Israeli embassy officials to organise the undermining of pro-Palestinian MPs.

In files released in May this year, it was shown that Mr Matthews took more than a year to suspend a Labour member who claimed the Holocaust was a “hoax.”

Labour accused the show of deliberately misrepresenting evidence to smear the party.

A spokesperson said: “The Panorama programme was not a fair or balanced investigation.

“It was a seriously inaccurate, politically one-sided polemic, which breached basic journalistic standards, invented quotes and edited emails to change their meaning. It was an overtly biased intervention by the BBC in party political controversy.

“An honest investigation into anti-semitism in Labour and wider society is in the public interest. The Panorama team instead pre-determined an answer to the question posed by the programme’s title.

“The Labour Party will fully investigate any complaints concerning the anti-semitic incidents reported by party members in interviews in the programme.

“Labour stands in solidarity with Jewish people and is fully committed to the support, defence and celebration of the Jewish community and its organisations.

“We will build on the improvements to our procedures made under Jennie Formby, and continue to act against this repugnant form of racism.”

A statement from pro-Corbyn Jewish group Jewish Voice for Labour said: “It is shameful that the BBC has joined in an orchestrated campaign whose principal aim is quite clearly to prevent Jeremy Corbyn becoming prime minister of a Labour government committed to socialism.”


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