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MORE than 500 people have attended an unofficial inquiry into “shocking dirty tricks and undemocratic practices” in the Labour Party.
Saturday’s virtual Not The Forde Inquiry event was organised by the Labour in Exile Network in protest at the long delay to the release of the official probe by barrister Martin Forde.
His inquiry, set up by Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer in May 2020, was asked to investigate “the circumstances and contents” of a sensational internal party report, which had been leaked to the press the previous month.
That report, entitled The work of the Labour Party’s governance and legal unit in relation to anti-semitism, 2014-2019, had included shocking allegations of racist attitudes, hyper-factionalism and electoral sabotage by party officials against former leader Jeremy Corbyn’s team during the 2017 general election campaign.
The QC’s probe was first set to conclude in mid-July 2020, but this timescale was described by Mr Forde as impractical and changed to the end of last year. It was later moved back again to early 2021.
Labour has since shelved the publication of its conclusions indefinitely, claiming it wanted to wait for parallel investigations into the leak by the Information Commissioner’s Office to be published first.
One of weekend’s event’s organisers, Christine Tongue, said the meeting, attended by about 1,000 people on Facebook, demonstrated the level of anger among Labour members about the situation in the party.
“We believe [Sir Keir] is trying to bury the truth,” she said. “People spoke of being smeared, suspended and expelled on thin and bogus evidence.
“We had far too much material to even skim the surface of what’s been happening. We’re now planning to launch a Not the Forde Inquiry II.”
Attendees also heard a special message from film director Ken Loach, who said that he believed Sir Keir’s team is trying to rid the party of “troublesome activists.”
Labour has been contacted for comment.
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