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Thu, 3 December 2020

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Labour appoints leading barrister to head up inquiry into leaked anti-semitism report

Labour appoints leading barrister to head up inquiry into leaked anti-semitism report

Labour expect the group to complete their investigation by July (PA)

2 min read

Labour's ruling body has appointed a top barrister to lead an inquiry into the leaking of a report detailing the party's handling of anti-semitism complaints.

The party's National Executive Committee has selected barrister Martin Forde QC to investigate the "circumstances, contents and release" of the document which sparked a major internal spat when it was shared online last month.

The 860-page dossier, which included hundreds of emails and Whatsapp messages, argued that some party staff had hindered efforts to tackle anti-semitism because they were opposed to Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.

But the leak was slammed by the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism who claimed the failure to redact the names of party staff named in the document was an attempt to "smear whistleblowers".

It is believed the document was an annexe to the party's formal submission to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which is currently investigating claims the party is institutionally anti-semitic.

The party said Mr Forde, who is currently advising ministers on the Windrush compensation scheme, had been asked to deliver his findings to newly appointed leader Sir Keir Starmer by mid-July.

The leading barrister will be supported by Baroness Wilcox, former head of the Welsh local government association, Lord Larry Whitty, the party's former general secretary and fellow Labour peer Baroness Ruth Lister.

Announcing the appointment, a party spokesperson said: "The NEC has appointed Martin Forde to chair the independent investigation into the circumstances, contents and release of an internal report."

"Forde will be supported by a panel of three experts who have expertise in the law and the Labour Party’s structures."

They added: "The NEC has agreed that the investigation should endeavour to deliver its report by the middle of July."

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