Former Labour officials suspended over a controversial internal report on the handling of disciplinary cases during the Jeremy Corbyn era – which was leaked online in April last year – are being readmitted to the party.
The 860-page document, an unredacted version of which was distributed online, focused on the poor relations between the leader’s office and Labour headquarters when Corbyn was leader and Iain McNicol served as general secretary.
The report included many emails and WhatsApp messages between HQ staffers, which allegedly provided evidence of strong anti-Corbyn views held by top employees, including comments describing violence towards a Corbynite member.
A number of former staffers were subsequently suspended from the party. It has now been revealed by HuffPost UK that ex-officials including UNISON assistant general secretary Emilie Oldknow have been reinstated.
Their disciplinary cases were concluded by the party at the end of January. A reliable Labour source told LabourList that the outcomes were decided earlier but disputes panel chair Yasmine Dar had been “refusing to sign them off”.
Dar was replaced as chair of the Labour the national executive committee (NEC) disputes panel that takes charge of internal party complaints on January 21st. Labour MP Shabana Mahmood was elected as her successor.
It is understood that several of the ex-officials have had their suspensions by Labour lifted, but Patrick Heneghan – who was executive director of the UK Labour Party – remains suspended from the party.
LabourList has been told that the ex-officials were found to have broken party rules and Labour decided to suspend them for several months as a result, but Heneghan’s case was referred upwards to the national constitutional committee (NCC).
When approached by HuffPost UK for comment, Labour’s former elections chief Heneghan said: “It would not be appropriate to make comment as litigation is current between myself and the Labour Party.”
The Forde Inquiry, an independent investigation into the leaked report commissioned by Labour’s ruling body, has still not delivered its findings – although it was due to conclude first in mid-July, then by December 31st.
Martin Forde QC and a panel of three were asked by Labour’s NEC last year to look into the allegations of the leaked report, its commissioning and how it was put into the public domain despite containing personal data.
The terms of reference agreed by the NEC in April also determined that the Forde Inquiry would cover the “structure, culture and practices” of the party, as many said the report had exposed a toxic culture within Labour.
Sources say Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner wrote to the inquiry asking for an update before Christmas. General secretary David Evans recently told the NEC that the latest target was January 31st, but the date was not met.