The party, now led by Sir Keir Starmer, also issued an apology. Katherine Buckingham, Michael Creighton, Samuel Matthews, Daniel Hogan, Louise Withers Green, Martha Robinson and Benjamin Westerman all had concerns there was “a lack of commitment” by Labour to properly investigate anti-Semitism within the party, the High Court heard on Wednesday. At a brief hearing in London, their barrister William Bennett QC said: “The whistleblowers were highly critical of the Labour Party’s approach to tackling anti-Semitism within its ranks.”
He told Mr Justice Nicklin: “Before the broadcast of the Panorama programme, the Labour Party issued a press release that contained defamatory and false allegations about the whistleblowers.”
Mr Bennett said Labour “accused the whistleblowers of having acted in bad faith during and after their employment with the intention of harming the Labour Party”, allegations he said were “untrue and defamatory”.
He added: “The Labour Party is here today to set the record straight and to apologise unreservedly to the claimants for the distress and embarrassment that the publication of the false allegations have caused them and for the continuing damage that has been caused to their reputations.
“The Labour Party also has agreed to pay substantial damages to the whistleblowers.”
Mark Henderson, representing Labour, told the court: “The Labour Party acknowledges that these claims about the claimants are untrue, and we retract and withdraw them and undertake not to repeat them.
“The Labour Party is here today to publicly set the record straight and to apologise to the claimants for the distress and embarrassment that it has caused them.”
More to follow.
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