Who are Seumas Milne and Jennie Formby? Labour aides featured in tonight’s BBC Panorama, Is Labour Anti-Semitic

TONIGHT a new BBC Panorama documentary will reveal details of the anti-Semitism scandal with the Labour Party.

But who are Seumas Milne and Jennie Formby, the  aides featured in the Is Labour Anti-Semitic programme? Here’s what you need to know.

 Seamus Milne is accused of laughing off Labour's anti-Semitism claims in a BBC documentary


Seamus Milne is accused of laughing off Labour’s anti-Semitism claims in a BBC documentaryCredit: Getty – Contributor

Who is Seumas Milne?

Seumas Milne is a British journalist and political aide.

He was appointed the Labour Party’s Executive Director of Strategy and Communications in October 2015, under new Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, initially on leave from The Guardian.

In January 2017 he left the paper to work for the party permanently.

He reportedly told officials the party was “muddling up political disputes with racism” and must review processes.

It is claimed in a new documentary that Mr Milne laughed when advised by a long-serving party official about what Mr Corbyn should do to tackle anti-Semitism in the party.

 Jennie Formby is accused of interfering with cases of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party by the BBC


Jennie Formby is accused of interfering with cases of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party by the BBCCredit: Rex Features

Who is Jennie Formby?

Jennie Formby is a British trade unionist and politician.

She is the current General Secretary of the Labour Party, having succeeded Iain McNicol in April 2018.

Previously, she was political director and south-east England regional secretary for Unite the Union.

She reportedly attempted to interfere in who sat on a panel examining a high-profile case.

It is claimed in a new documentary that officials brought in by Ms Formby “overruled” disciplinary decisions and “downgraded” punishments to a “slap on the wrist”

 Jeremy Corbyn's closest aides have been accused of intervening in anti-Semitism cases


Jeremy Corbyn’s closest aides have been accused of intervening in anti-Semitism casesCredit: PA:Press Association

What is tonight’s BBC Panorama about?

Up to a dozen ex-Labour staff are said to have spoken to the BBC about how the party processes complaints, and whether senior staff intervened in cases.

The explosive documentary will reveal Corbyn’s closest aides intervened to stop anti-Semites being kicked out and laughed off calls to tackle the crisis.

Eight ex-Labour staffers broke restrictive gagging orders to lay bare the sheer scale of racism in the party.

They told BBC Panorama how the party was hit by a flood of cases of Jew-baiting racism after Mr Corbyn became leader in 2015.

The party’s storm over how it deals with anti-Semitism allegations has now been swirling for more than three years – and the Labour boss has been repeatedly accused of not taking the problem seriously enough.

List of names of interviewees and dates of service:

Kat Buckingham, Head of Disputes and Discipline 2015 – 2017

Mike Creighton, Director of Audit and Risk 2009-2017

Sam Matthews, Head of Disputes 2016-2018

Ben Westerman, Investigations Officer 2016-2017

Martha Robinson, Complaints Administrator 2018-2019

Dan Hogan, Investigations Officer 2016-2018

Louise Withers Green, Disputes Officer 2017-2018

Baron Iain McNicol, General Secretary of the Labour Party 2011-2018

Labour insisted the leader’s team have not intervened on such decisions – and said they would be making a formal complaint to the BBC.

The former staffers claimed recruits brought in by Jennie Formby – the party’s new general secretary and a close Corbyn ally – blocked racists being booted out.

A Labour source said of the documentary, which will be aired on Wednesday: “Rather than investigating anti-semitism in the Labour Party in a balanced and impartial way, Panorama appears to have predetermined its outcome and created a programme to fit a one-sided narrative.

“With a possible general election around the corner, this smacks of bias and interference in the political process by the BBC and a clear breach of their own editorial guidelines.

“We’re complaining to the director-general. We have serious concerns about how they have used taxpayers’ money to produce this programme.”

But the BBC insisted: “The Labour Party is criticising a programme they have not seen.

“We are confident the programme will adhere to the BBC’s editorial guidelines.

“In line with those, the Labour Party has been given the opportunity to respond to the allegations.”

BBC Panorama: Is Labour Anti-Semitic? BBC One is on Wednesday 10 July at 9pm.


Labour ex-staffers say Jeremy Corbyn’s office intervened in anti-Semitism cases and downgraded punishments


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