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Names on letter defending Jeremy Corbyn 'signed without Labour members' consent'

Fred Leplat, who submitted the letter, disputed two members' claims that their names were added without their knowledge

    Two people have said their names were added to an open letter without their consent (Photo: PA Images)
    Two people have said their names were added to an open letter without their consent (Photo: PA Images)

    The names of at least two signatories to an open letter by members of the Barnet Labour Party defending Jeremy Corbyn were added without their consent, it has been claimed.

    The letter, sent to the JC on Sunday, defended the Labour leader’s record on antisemitism, attacking the “conflation of antisemitism and criticism of the actions of the state of Israel”.

    It was purportedly signed by 33 members of the Finchley and Golders Green, Hendon and Chipping Barnet Labour parties.

    But two of the supposed signatories, Jenny Brown and Lisa Pate, have claimed that they did not sign the letter. Both women are candidates in next month's council elections in Barnet.

    Fred Leplat, who submitted the letter, insisted that each signature was genuine, and that all signatories were shown it before publication.

    Mr Leplat, a member of the Finchley and Golders Green Labour Party, said: "The letter was only printed after it was shown to everyone who signed it. It was not changed afterwards, and no names were added without permission.

    "It would be quite improper for me or anybody else to add names without members' knowledge, or to make changes to the letter.

    "Maybe some people have had a change of heart, or perhaps they didn't read the letter properly."

    A spokesman for the Barnet Labour Party later said: "The party has started a disciplinary investigation into Mr Leplat's conduct after members complained that his accusations against the two council candidates were 'grossly detrimental' to the party.

    "Mr Leplat could be suspended from party membership or expelled if the complaints are upheld."

    The letter defended Mr Corbyn’s anti-racist credentials and praised the party’s new General Secretary, Jennie Formby, who has issued a directive to implement the recommendations of the 2016 Chakrabarti report into antisemitism.

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