Former top Labour bureaucrat, Emilie Oldknow, the wife of Blairite MP Jonathan Ashworth, took the party to court last week in an attempt to force it to name who might have released its governance and legal unit report which revealed she and other senior party officers’ treachery.
Ms Oldknow, now a senior Unison official, wanted the High Court to instruct the Labour Party to name five possible leakers so she can sue them.
Labour’s legal representative said it would disclose its internal evidence, but that the party wanted to remain neutral and did not wish to offer “subjective opinion on who is legally liable”.
On Monday five unnamed individuals, all members of Unite the union, who denied being behind the leak, presented their case at the same hearing.
Ms Oldknow is bringing claims for defamation and misuse of private information over the leaking of the report, which contains more than 500 references to her making highly derogatory remarks about the leader and his supporters.
After the report was leaked in April 2020, details of top staffs’ secret conversations of out-and-out hostility to Mr Corbyn and other left MPs were detailed among its 860 pages.
Also in the report were details of how the 5th columnists had deliberately mishandled and delayed alleged antisemitism complaints to embarrass the Corbyn administration.
The report led to the 5th columnists suing the party and Keir Starmer’s unfathomable apology and payment to them of £600,000, as well as his six month late Forde Inquiry into the veracity of the Leaked Report.
William Bennett QC told the court on Monday that the report was a “politically-motivated hatchet job” which sought to blame Ms Oldknow and others for Labour’s “failure” to deal with allegations of antisemitism.
In written submissions he said that Labour has “reached a clear view as to who was responsible for the leak”.
Anya Proops QC, representing the Labour Party, said the party has concluded that “it did not authorise the leak and it is innocent of any responsibility”.
Speaking on behalf of the five unnamed individuals, Jacob Dean QC said: “They have co-operated fully with the various investigations into that leak, providing detailed personal, private and confidential information to those investigations, on assurances of confidentiality.”
He added that “the potential for injustice is manifest” if Labour was forced to “disclose a mass of evidence… from which the (party) has drawn certain conclusions in order to allow the applicant to draw her own, possibly different, conclusions”.
After Mrs Justice Tipples declared the five individuals had no role in this case Labour asked for the case to be adjourned for a week. Oldknow was ordered to pay Labour’s and part of Unite’s legal costs.
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