Former general secretary Iain McNicol to sue over leaked antisemitism report

Elliot Chappell

Lawyer Mark Lewis has revealed that Iain McNicol is suing the Labour Party over the leaked internal report into the handling of antisemitism complaints by the party.

The legal representative, who acted for the former Labour staffers and journalist John Ware in the Panorama libel case settled on Wednesday, revealed last night that 32 people had approached him about taking legal action.

In an interview with BBC Newsnight, Lewis told viewers that the former general secretary of the party was one of those individuals and that he intended to sue for being “blamed for things that simply didn’t happen”.

Lewis said: “There are 32 people who have instructed me to take action. Their actions are in respect to data breaches misuse of private information, libels — It’s like an exam question for a libel lawyer to look through them and see how many claims you can find.

“Lord McNicol is one of the people who is taking action who has been named in the report. There are many other people who are named in the report, they come under different categories: people who work for the party, people who were in the party in in political positions.”

On the former Labour general secretary, Lewis added: “McNicol is named in the report and is blamed for things that simply didn’t happen. It’s a mischaracterisation of a report which has been taken on.

“And what has been prepared as a report is a very factional basis, which is incredibly edited, incredibly slanted, incredibly misleading and of course the far left are quoting from that as though it’s some sort of gospel.”

The controversial report, leaked and distributed online in April this year, detailed alleged mishandling of disciplinary cases and attempts by members of staff to undermine Jeremy Corbyn.

Much of the dossier focuses on the poor relations between the leader’s office and Labour headquarters, including the governance and legal unit when McNicol served as general secretary and Corbyn was leader.

Following the release of this 851-page document, new leader Keir Starmer committed to an “urgent independent investigation” into the background, the content and the way in which the report was released, and the culture in the party.

The investigation has been delayed and is now expected to report at the end of the year. A call for evidence has been published by the inquiry, with the deadline for contributions on August 7th at 5pm.

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