Labour bid to stop broadcast of damning BBC documentary on anti-Semitism

Labour tried to prevent the broadcast of tonight’s damning BBC documentary on anti-Semitism, it has emerged.

Jeremy Corbyn’s inner circle are braced for a string of bruising allegations in the Panorama programme, entitled “Is Labour Anti-Semitic?”

The party has been dogged by allegations of anti-Semitism within its ranks, and of failing to effectively deal with the problem.

And the programme claims the party’s complaints and disciplinary system that had to deal with a huge increase in anti-Semitism complaints since Jeremy Corbyn became leader in 2015.

Among the allegations were claims senior party figures had tried to interfere in the disciplinary process dealing with complaints of anti-Semitism against members.

Dan Hogan, a former disputes investigator for the party claimed he had been “overruled” by staff brought in by General Secretary Jennie Formby when she was appointed in March 2018.

Dan Hogan who worked as an Investigations Officer for the Labour Party between 2016-2018


He said they had “downgraded what should’ve been a suspension to just an investigation or worse to just a reminder of conduct, effectively a slap on the wrist.”

And one former party staffer claimed Mr Corbyn’s top advisor, Seumas Milne, “laughed” at suggestions for how the party could root out anti-Semitism.

Mike Creighton, Labour’s former Head of the Labour Disputes team, said he was approached by Mr Milne for advice in spring 2016.

Mr Creighton said: “[Milne] said, I want to talk to you about anti-Semitism, how we deal with it. And I gave him my advice, which as I recall was two things; one was, we should deal with some of the top level anti-Semitic cases much more swiftly and much more robustly.

“Second thing I suggested was that it would be the right time for Jeremy Corbyn as leader, to make a significant speech on the issue of the Middle East, particularly saying that Israel had a right to exist.”

Mike Creighton was the Labour Party Director of Audit and Risk


Mr Creighton claimed Mr Milne laughed at his suggestions. “He actually laughed at me… I thought he actually wanted to know how we tackle anti-Semitism within the Labour Party.  I think what he actually meant to say was, how do we deal with the bad publicity we’re getting?”

Labour dispute that such a conversation took place, saying the allegation was “false and malicious.”

A Labour source told the Mirror: “The Labour Party is currently rotten to the core and it comes from the very top.”

They added: “The level of political interference is breathtaking and demonstrates that antisemitism is not taken seriously by the people charged with running the party.

“We cannot survive whilst they both prioritise loyalty and personal paranoia over tackling the cancer of antisemitism.”

Labour’s headquarters known as ‘Southside’


The programme claimed to have seen emails which showed Ms Formby trying to intervene in an investigation into activist Jackie Walker, who has since been expelled from the party.

In an email sent last May, Ms Formby allegedly attacked the approach of the party’s National Constitutional Committee, the independent body within the Labour Party that has the final say over expulsions.

She’s claimed to have written: “The NCC cannot be allowed to continue in the way that they are at the moment, and I will also be challenging the panel for the Jackie Walker case.”

It’s claimed Jeremy Corbyn was personally copied into the email.

A further alleged email from Ms Formby appeared to suggest she had deleted the email because there were “too many eyes all on my Labour address.”

LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 10: Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn leaves his home on July 10, 2019 in London, England. A BBC documentary is set to be broadcast later today which details an investigation into allegations of anti-semitism within the party. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

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Labour said Ms Formby had temporarily stopped using her party email because of concerns a political opponent had access to it.

Mr Corbyn’s spokesman today said they had not asked for the documentary not to be broadcast.

But in a complaint to Director General Lord Tony Hall, the party urged the BBC to “suspend and reconsider the planned broadcast of this programme in this form.”

The party complained that they had not been given enough time to respond to allegations made in the documentary, and that questions put to them were not “balanced and fair.”

The spokesman said: “From what we’ve seen of the questions and the nature of the investigation – the Panorama team had already come to a conclusion about where their investigation was going before it looked at the evidence in full.”

In response to the Panorama programme, a Labour Party spokesperson said: “The Labour Party at all levels is implacably opposed to anti-Semitism and is determined to root out this social cancer from our movement and society. Labour stands in solidarity with Jewish people and is fully committed to the support, defence and celebration of the Jewish community and its organisations.

“Jeremy Corbyn has a long and principled record of solidarity with the Palestinian people and it is false to claim that he has associated with extremist groups. Jeremy Corbyn has proactively addressed anti-Semitism within the Party in direct communications to the Party membership, in articles, speeches, videos and interviews.

“The Leader’s Office did not intervene. These former disaffected employees sought the view of staff in the Leader’s Office, which was compiled with in good faith. These disaffected former officials include those who have always opposed Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, worked to actively undermine it, and have both personal and political axes to grind. It is simply untrue to say that there were any significant number of disagreements about what constituted anti-Semitism.

“The emails… are simply about ensuring the NCC is held accountable for the length of time they take to hear cases and about protecting the Party against any successful legal challenge on the basis of perceived bias if the same panel is used in high profile cases.

“Labour is taking decisive action against anti-Semitism, doubling the number of staff dedicated to dealing with complaints and cases. And since Jennie Formby became General Secretary, the rate at which anti-Semitism cases have been dealt with has increased four-fold.”


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