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EX-LABOUR staffer Emilie Oldknow is seeking a High Court ruling to reveal who leaked the party’s internal anti-semitism report, so she can sue them for defamation.
William Bennett QC, representing Ms Oldknow, told the court today that the report was a “politically motivated hatchet job.”
The 860-page report on Labour’s governance & legal unit was leaked in April last year.
The internal investigation, carried out in the final months of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, had concluded that “factional opposition” towards the former leader had contributed to “a litany of mistakes” hindering efforts to tackle anti-semitism complaints.
It published WhatsApp communications indicating that senior staff worked to undermine the Labour leadership and expressed dismay at the party’s gains in the 2017 election, as well as messages abusing MPs, staff and Labour Party members.
Ms Oldknow was quoted making derogatory personal remarks about members of the Leader’s Office, as well as referring to apparent discussions between then general secretary Iain McNicol and then deputy leader Tom Watson about the latter being made interim leader following what they assumed would be a poor 2017 election result.
In a WhatsApp chat in which various officials lament the exit poll showing Labour had gained seats, two successive texts attributed to her read: “We have to be upbeat” “And not show it.”
The leaking of the dossier prompted new party leader Sir Keir Starmer to launch an inquiry.
Ms Oldknow — Labour’s former director of governance — wants to bring claims for defamation and misuse of private information.
Anya Proops QC, representing the Labour Party, said the leaked report, which “contained extensive quantities of personal data relating to a wide number of individuals, including Ms Oldknow,” was “highly confidential.”
She said in written submissions that Labour’s investigation into the leak is “now at an end” and that the party has concluded that “it did not authorise the leak and it is innocent of any responsibility.”
The hearing before Ms Justice Tipples was due to conclude today, but it is not yet known if a ruling will be reserved.
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