Jackie Walker 'to sue Labour' over suspensions row


A Labour activist suspended twice over claims of antisemitism has launched a fundraising campaign to sue the party's general secretary.

Jackie Walker hopes to take Iain McNicol to court for what she says is a breach of data protection laws.

She had raised more than £7,800 for her legal case by Wednesday using a crowd-funding website.

Ms Walker was first suspended after she wrote about "the African holocaust" and called Jews "financiers of the sugar and slave trade" on Facebook.

She is now accusing Mr McNicol and the Labour Party of revealing her suspension to the JC in April before informing her.

Ms Walker said in a statement: "As general secretary, Iain McNicol is directly responsible for the damage caused to me, my family and friends by the decision of persons unknown who briefed a major community publication in regards to my suspension and allegation, before the Labour Party had informed me...This is not acceptable.

"This case matters as my story is just one of many where Labour members have found themselves in a similar position."

Martin Howe, Ms Walker's solicitor, said: "This apparent breach of her private data has had a devastating impact on her public and private well-being and has led directly to her being pre-judged and unfairly cast as a racist before she was given any opportunity to tell her side of the story.

"Data protection laws are there to protect all of us and any breach is a very serious matter."

Ms Walker said she needed to raise £10,000 to proceed with the case. Labour declined to comment.

She was readmitted to Labour following her initial suspension but was suspended again last month after comments about Holocaust Memorial Day. The activist was also removed as vice-chair of the hard-left Momentum.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that Jeremy Corbyn discussed giving a peerage to Baroness Chakrabarti before she was appointed to carry out an investigation into allegations of antisemitism in Labour.

Labour sources told the Telegraph that Mr Corbyn and his advisers had discussed the move in March.

Mr Corbyn reportedly long-listed Baroness Chakrabarti for an honour when he learned that David Cameron would appoint new peers after the EU referendum.

The source said Baroness Chakrabarti knew of the possibility the following month, before she was approached to conduct the inquiry. Her report was published at the end of June.

The now Shadow Attorney General's findings on Jew-hatred in the party were branded a "whitewash" by critics who claimed she had not investigated the issue thoroughly.

Baroness Chakrabarti has maintained that she had no knowledge of a potential peerage before she was approached to lead the inquiry.

Mr Corbyn's spokesman told the Telegraph that the first conversation he had with Baroness Chakrabarti about the peerage was on July 13, after David Cameron's final Prime Minister's Questions and after the publication of her report.

She was, the spokesman said, unaware her name had been longlisted before that date.

● A representative of the Jewish Labour Movement will be appointed to the equalities sub-committee of Labour's National Executive Committee.

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