Labour’s general secretary has written to constituency parties telling them not to share a leaked internal probe into antisemitism on social media or elsewhere.
Jennie Formby, who was a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn when he was leader, sent the letter to constituency Labour parties (CLPs) earlier this week as Labour was rocked by another row over the handling of antisemitism in its ranks.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said he was “shocked” by the contents of the leaked dossier that detailed splits in the party’s headquarters.
And an internal inquiry has been launched into the leak and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) informed.
Sir Keir said an independent probe would also be held.
Formby wrote: “Any CLP in receipt of a copy of the report or its contents MUST NOT share or distribute that material in any way, including on social media.
“Any individual who shares or distributes the report or its contents on an unauthorised basis will be immediately exposing themselves to potential significant civil and criminal liability.”
The letter added: “We know that many of you have been in touch with Party staff in the regions and nationally expressing concerns with both the leaked document and its contents, and that many members will also have contacted you.
“Please be aware that the party have condemned the leaking of the report, as with all leaks this damages our party and is unfair on staff who do not have the right to reply.
“As soon as the Party was made aware of this leak, an internal investigation was immediately instigated and the ICO has been informed.
“In addition, the leader and deputy leader have announced that in conjunction with our NEC they will be commissioning an independent investigation.”
A Labour spokesperson said: “The Labour Party takes its responsibilities for data protection and the security and integrity of its data and systems extremely seriously.”
A Labour source confirmed the letter was sent by Formby, but insisted it was intended to ensure data law was upheld.
The 860-page leaked document found “no evidence” of antisemitism complaints being handled differently from other forms of complaint, or of current or former staff being “motivated by antisemitic intent”.
But it found that “factional opposition” in the upper echelons of the party towards Corbyn contributed to “a litany of mistakes” which hindered the effective handling of the issue.
Some allies of Corbyn claimed the document showed that elements within the party hierarchy undermined efforts to win the 2017 general election.
Members of the GMB union at Labour’s HQ voted this week to back a motion calling for Formby to apologise to current staff members named in the leaked report.
Last week, a spokesperson for the Jewish Labour Movement told Jewish News: “We welcome the independent investigations instigated by the Leader and the Information Commissioners Office. The Party owes a duty of care to Jewish members who have complained, over a period of many years, about the racism they have faced from other members. The release of their names with such callous disregard is yet further evidence of the Party’s failure to appropriately deal with antisemitism. Anyone involved in the dissemination of this report must be held accountable.”