The Labour Party could face an £8 million legal bill over multiple lawsuits arising from a leaked internal probe of antisemitism, a report claims.
The Mail on Sunday reported on speculation from “sources close to those identified by the leak”, compensation and legal costs could be “enormous” and range from £3 million to £8m. An unnamed MP told the newspaper the bill could “just bankrupt the party”.
The 860-page report 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 former labour leader Jeremy Corbyn contributed to “a litany of mistakes” which hindered the effective handling of the issue.
Media lawyer Mark Lewis, of the firm Patron Law, said last week he was instructed to pursue libel claims and claims of data protection breaches against those publishing allegations contained in the report.
An internal inquiry has been launched into the leak and the Information Commissioner’s Office informed.
In a statement to Jewish News on Monday, Labour MP Margaret Hodge said: “It’s a crying shame that our new leader has been left with such a big financial mess to fix, particularly on top of everything else we face as a country and a party.
Meanwhile, Labour’s general secretary warned constituency parties sharing the report on social media or elsewhere “on an unauthorised basis will be immediately exposing themselves to potential significant civil and criminal liability.”
A Labour spokesperson told the Press Association last week the party “takes its responsibilities for data protection and the security and integrity of its data and systems extremely seriously.”
The Labour Party was approached for comment.