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Saturday, October 16, 2021

How Labour's legal troubles are helping the Tories

Like many others I am looking at the clueless, incompetent Tory government we have in power at the moment and asking why it is that they have a ten point lead in the polls. The answer lies in the fact that the main opposition party is just as clueless and is failing to project a convincing alternative narrative to that of Boris Johnson. And then of course there is this.

The Guardian reports that Labour is spending significantly more of its cash on fighting its legal battles than on political campaigning, with party sources telling reporters that last year campaigning was Labour’s fourth-highest spend, behind costs linked to legal cases:

This week’s naming of five of Jeremy Corbyn’s closest staffers in legal action alleging responsibility for leaking a contentious report marked a new chapter in the war between two sides of the party. The report, which contained private WhatsApp messages, aimed to demonstrate bitter factionalism among staff but has prompted legal action from many of those named.

One senior source described the situation between the two sides of the party as “full-blown lawfare” – comparing it to how competing governments in South American countries have attempted to take down each other.

The party’s financial situation has led to the departure of dozens of staff in recent weeks including a significant number of its press office.

The toll of the ongoing legal action was putting off some potential donors, staffers said, though donations can be ringfenced. “We’ve had some amazing conversations with brilliant people, some of whom have defected from other parties, some never involved in politics before – but they don’t want money spent on a legal fight,” one party source said.

Last month, a senior party official revealed Labour was spending more than £2m a year on legal fees, when costs used to be 10% of that figure – about £200,000 a year.

There have been other financial issues that have led to internal questions too. The general secretary, David Evans, was reluctant to use the Treasury’s furlough scheme for fear of negative publicity, so Labour used party funds to pay for up to 20 staff to be furloughed on 80% of their usual pay.

One of the legal cases – by ex-staffers featured in a Panorama programme on antisemitism – has been settled. The most pressing focus for the party’s lawyers now is action by 27 former staffers named in the 860-page leaked report. There is also a separate legal action on data breaches alone, launched by non-staffers whose personal information is mentioned within it.

One of the ex-staffers who is part of the first claim, the former director of governance Emilie Oldknow, had been given leave to appeal her attempt to force the disclosure of the names the party thought were responsible, something Labour had resisted at a hearing in January.

But that battle has come to an abrupt end after a major change of tactic by the party. This week, Labour lodged papers at the high court seeking to place responsibility for the leak on two of Corbyn’s most senior advisers, Seumas Milne and Karie Murphy, as well as Georgie Robertson, Laura Murray and Harry Hayball.

The report, which was intended as a submission to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) inquiry into antisemitism in the party, was leaked unredacted in April 2020 and alleged that staff had worked to undermine Corbyn’s leadership and antisemitism disciplinary procedures and had sent abusive messages about senior figures.

Milne, a former Guardian journalist, worked as Jeremy Corbyn’s head of communications, while Murphy was his chief of staff. All five have vociferously denied leaking the report and sources said they would take advice on whether to countersue.

What makes it worse for Labour is that costs are going escalate as they submerge themselves in much more involved and complex action that will drag on for much longer. The paper says that there are other challenges on the horizon. For a start Labour could receive a fine from the ICO that might run into seven figures, there is pending action from expelled members and a threat from Corbyn to challenge the removal of the Labour whip, which has been withheld since a statement he made over the EHRC report.

I can't see that gap in the polls closing much for some time to come.
It reminds me of the Titanic,( except in the Pacific).Hit an iceburg? (2019 Johnson victory.)Action? ABANDON SHIP!! then 2 factions fight over 2 lifeboats whilst the ship is sinking.They go down with the ship. The sharks get the rest (Putin and the Conservative party.THE COUNTRY IS GOING DOWN THE TUBES AND ALL THEY ARE DOING IS LEAVING THE UK TO SINK
For a start the Tories are not 10% ahead of Labour, the average is more like 5% & if we exclude Yougov that falls to 3.5%

This article gives the impression that all this is somehow the fault of the Labour Leadership when they have no choice but to fight. The Far Left came very close to destroying Labour & they are still trying to finish the job. Starmer is winning, the Corbynites are being driven out but its slow work.
Most recent poll here: https://twitter.com/BritainElects/status/1448589699786985477?t=VzaOw7n5KyCma1aNnPze7w&s=19 A ten point lead
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