Owen Jones reported to Information Commissioner after private Labour staffer messages were published in new book

EXCLUSIVE: Complaint comes after extracts from 'This Land' are published by Vice


Left-wing author Owen Jones has been reported to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) over claims that private messages written by Labour Party staff members have been published in his new book.

The JC understands that the ICO has received a complaint after extracts of 'This Land', the journalist’s analysis of the state of the British left after the defeat of Jeremy Corbyn, were published by the online publication Vice on Sunday.

In the extract, a series of messages from Labour staff members are detailed, all of which express seriously negative views about senior party figures include Yvette Cooper, Liz Kendall and Andy Burnham.

The messages also include highly defamatory claims about a former MP.

Mr Jones – who has previously written the best-sellers Chavs, and The Establishment – adds in the new Penguin-published book: “I put these quotes from the leaked report to Labour HQ for comment, but at the time, the party had commissioned an inquiry headed by a barrister, Martin Forde QC, and therefore chose not to comment until it was finalised.”

But an analysis of the 860 page internal party report that was leaked in April shows that private messages used in Mr Jones' latest book do not actually feature in the report that was widely circulated on social media earlier this year.

The JC has learned that a former senior Labour official has now contacted the ICO to complain about the use of the private messages in Mr Jones book and is also raising the “serious question” of how he appeared to have “been given access” to messages written by Labour staff members.

A source told the JC: ”There seems to be lots of questions for Owen to answer.  Was he aware that he has quoted from messages in his book that are not in the leaked report?

 “How did he obtain them in the first place? Are we now talking about an entirely different leak of messages?”

Mr Jones told the JC on Tuesday: "I cannot comment on my confidential sources but as stated in my book these anonymous quotes were put to the Labour Party prior to publication."

Penguin UK has described Mr Jones new book, which is on sale from Thursday, as "an urgent analysis of where the left - and Britain - goes next."

In April Labour had confirmed officials were working with the ICO over the leak of the report, which has subsequently been criticised for offering a hugely partisan view of how Mr Corbyn attempted to tackle antisemitism in his party.

The report,commissioned by former General Secretary Jennie Formby, set out to prove that Mr Corbyn was sabotaged in his attempts to tackle the issue by the right-wing of his own party.

But the leaking of the report in unredacted format by pro-Corbyn websites  meant that dozens of people who had raised confidential complaints about antisemitism were publically named.

Labour is now facing scores of legal claims covering the Data Protection Act, invasion of privacy and libel as a result of the leak.

An ICO spokesperson told the JC: ”We aren’t able to comment on complaints made by individuals.”


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