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Labour has withdrawn legal action against five Corbyn era staffers who were accused of leaking a controversial internal report. 

A joint statement from Labour and lawyers Carter Ruck said today: “The Party is discontinuing its legal claims against Karie Murphy, Seumas Milne, Georgie Robertson, Harry Hayball and Laura Murray on a ‘no order as to costs’ basis. The five welcome the resolution of the claims.”

The case concerned a report, entitled “The work of the Labour Party’s Governance and Legal Unit in relation to antisemitism, 2014 – 2019”, which was revealed online and to journalists in April 2020, soon after Keir Starmer became Labour leader. 

The document was intended to be submitted to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) which had conducted an investigation into Labour antisemitism. The report alleged that staff had worked to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and sent a number of abusive messages about senior figures. Critics said it was leaked in an attempt to “smear whistleblowers” who had exposed antisemitism.

The Labour Party accusing five former party staff of leaking the controversial report in full, who have always denied the allegations and hired lawyers to defend themselves. Labour has been accused of ‘wasting’ millions after four years of pursuing the legal action. Last October the BBC reported it had cost almost £1.4m.

Mish Rahman, a National Executive Committee member, claimed  the party had spent “millions of pounds in members’ money” on the legal case which could have gone into the general election.

Rahman said: “We’ve just had two weeks of campaigning dominated by Starmer’s attacks on the candidacies of Diane Abbott and Faiza Shaheen, driving more minority ethnic voters away from the Party.

“And now we learn that millions of pounds in members’ money, which could have been spent on the general election, has instead been wasted in pursuit of former staff who documented prejudice and abuse by the leadership’s supporters.”

A Labour MP and former shadow cabinet member criticised the appointment of Alex Barros Curtis, head of Labour’s legal unit,  into a safe Labor seat.

The unidentified Labour MP said: “The parachuting of Alex Barros Curtis into a safe Labour seat is a disgrace now we know what he is responsible for. 

“This Starmer-appointed official has spent millions of pounds of the Labour Party’s money dragging former party employees through the courts for four years, pursuing a pointless and failed political vendetta.”

The Labour Party was contacted for comment.

Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward

The post Labour drops legal action against 5 ex-Corbyn staff appeared first on Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate.

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