An avalanche of litigation from Labour’s handling of antisemitism cases has decimated the Party’s finances, its leaders have been told, and further lawsuits threaten to be destructive.
New legal action, expected this week, follows Labour’s public apology and six-figure pay-out to former complaints handlers who voiced grievances over antisemitism cases to BBC’s Panorama.
They later sued the Party for defamation and libel.
This week Manchester-based law firm 3D Solicitors were expected to sue Labour for breaches of data protection and privacy rules on behalf of nine current and former members, according to The Observer.
This comes after members’ and councillors’ names and private emails were released into the public realm after in an internal Party report on the handling of antisemitism cases was leaked to the press in April.
According to newspaper, the Party’s high command was told last week that the slew of litigation had already wrought havoc on Labour’s once-healthy financial state, with one source telling the outlet that the latest action could shred savings.
“If the party agrees to settle this, which it will if it has any sense, it will cost Labour a few hundred thousand pounds,” they were quoted as saying. “If it reaches court and Labour loses, it will cost the party many millions.”
The leaked 800-page report suggested that internal politics within the Labour Party was a factor in delays and mistakes in dealing with antisemitism cases.
New leader Sir Keir Starmer will now have to navigate a busy year of local and devolved assemble elections in 2021 with a teetering balance sheet, the Panorama fallout reportedly costing £500,000.
Further trouble lies ahead, with a report into antisemitism by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission still pending. It is expected to lay the groundwork for a raft of civil claims that could bankrupt Europe’s largest political party.