Pro-Corbyn group Jewish Voice for Labour being sued for libel

EXCLUSIVE: Journalist John Ware is taking action over comments made in relation to BBC Panorama programme ‘Is Labour Antisemitic?’


The pro-Jeremy Corbyn Jewish Voice for Labour group and two of its officers are being sued for libel by the journalist John Ware.

Court papers filed earlier this month confirm that Mr Ware is pursuing action against JVL Ltd,  the group’s founder member Naomi Wimbourne-Idrissi and web officer Richard Kuper over comments made in relation to last year’s BBC Panorama programme Is Labour Antisemitic?

The action centres on alleged defamatory comments made by Ms Wimbourne-Idrissi in a radio interview. During the discussion she claimed Mr Ware had a “terrible record of Islamophobia, far-right politics” and that he had been disciplined by the BBC, which had had to “apologise” for the veteran reporter’s journalism.

Mr Ware denies all of these claims, which were repeated in an article published on the JVL website.

JVL confirmed they were “defending” a libel action against two its officers in a statement this week, adding they had “been advised by our lawyers not to make further comment about the issues in contention.”

Asked about to comment on reports he was considering suing Mr Corbyn for defamation, Mr Ware said the “the matter is with my lawyers – that’s all I can say.”

Last week it was suggested the seven Panorama antisemitism whistleblowers may join Mr Ware in suing Mr Corbyn for defamation after the former Labour leader criticised the party’s decision to settle the libel case brought against the Labour by them.

But the JC understands that the whistleblowers do not wish to engage in another lengthy legal battle having experienced considerable stress during the fight to preserve their reputations after the Panorama programme was aired last July.

A source close to the whistleblowers rejected reports that they had offered to withdraw the threat of legal action if Labour expelled Mr Corbyn as “untrue” and as “not helpful”.

Supporters of Mr Corbyn have flocked to a ‘Go Fund Me’ page which has raised over £250,000 to finance any court battle with Mr Ware.

But the administrators of the page, set up by a supporter of the Labour leader named Carole Morgan, were forced to hide the comments of donors after many left antisemitic remarks about “Zionist” power, Israel – and one was signed off with the name ‘Adolf Hitler’.

Other comments on the site made derogatory references to Mr Ware.

Among the most generous donors was former deputy leader of Liverpool City Council Derek Hatton, who gave £1,000, and music producer Brian Eno, who provided £500.

Last week the JC reported how Labour could be facing a legal bill in excess of £5.5 million for settling claims relating to antisemitism brought against the party over Mr Corbyn’s failure on antisemitism.

The leaked report into antisemitism has sparked a flurry of complaints over alleged libel and data protection breaches.

In September the EHRC report into the handling of antisemitism is also expected to leave the party open to further claims over discrimination and personal injury.



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