High Court listings suggest Labour ready to apologise to Panorama whistleblowers

It is understood that formal apology has been requested from the party to be read in open court


High Court listings for Wednesday appear to confirm Labour is ready to publicly apologise to the BBC Panorama antisemitism whistle-blowers who sued the party for libel after the programme was aired last year.

Court listings suggest statements by lawyers representing the Labour Party are due to be read out in open court in the cases of seven whistle-blowers and also that of John Ware, the Panorama reporter who also sued the party after Labour said he had deliberately set out to mislead viewers.

The listing confirms this will take place at Court 14 in the Queens Bench Division of the High Court before Mr Justice Nicklin at 10 am.

Last week the JC revealed how Labour was poised to settle the legal cases after defamation cases were brought.

After the Panorama, Is Labour Antisemitic?, aired in July 2019, Labour claimed the whistle-blowers, who had all worked for the party, were “disaffected former officials include those who have always opposed Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, worked to actively to undermine it and have both personal and political axes to grind.”

The case, which was brought by the lawyer Mark Lewis, is believed to be the first time a political party has been sued for libel.

Pro-Corbyn supporters have lined up try to discredit the Panorama – with broadcast regulator, Ofcom, rejecting 28 complaints against the programme.

Another article on the  Novara Media website in May was headlined: ‘Did BBC Whistle-blowers Mislead the Public on Labour Antisemitism and Blame Their Own Failures on Corbyn?’

On Monday the JC revealed an attempt by Justin Schlosberg  - a senior lecturer in journalism and media at Birkbeck College -  to mount a formal legal challenge to Ofcom's decision not to investigate complaints about the BBC Panorama rejected by the High Court on the grounds that it came nowhere near reaching the high threshold for such a challenge.


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