Panorama whistleblowers take legal action against party

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Panorama whistleblowers take legal action against party

Former Labour employees who appeared on BBC1 documentary to take legal action as a result of the leadership's dismissive response to their claims.

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Louise Withers Green, Disputes Officer 2017-2018 (Credit: BBC Panorama - Is Labour Anti-Semitic?)
Louise Withers Green, Disputes Officer 2017-2018 (Credit: BBC Panorama - Is Labour Anti-Semitic?)

At least two of the former Labour employees, who appeared in last week’s dramatic Panorama programme about antisemitism in the Labour Party, have confirmed that they are taking legal action as a result of the hierarchy’s response to their claims.

Sam Matthews, Labour’s former head of disputes, and Louise Withers Green, a disputes official, gave anguished testimony in the programme about the level of interference from Jeremy Corbyn’s inner circle in dealing with antisemitism complaints.

Each had suffered mental health issues as a result, they said, but had been forced to sign non-disclosure agreements as a condition of leaving their employment.

But when the programme was aired, Matthews and Withers Green, together with six other whistleblowers who appeared on the programme, were derided by a Labour spokesman who called them “disaffected former officials”.

The spokesman said they included “those who have always opposed Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, worked actively to undermine it and have both personal and political axes to grind”.

Matthews and Withers Green, both of whom say they spoke out in the public interest, have now instructed the media lawyer Mark Lewis to act on their behalf. They accuse the Labour Party of “untrue, libellous statements” and “a concerted campaign” to defame and intimidate whistleblowers.

Others who appeared in the programme are understood to be considering similar actions against Labour.

Sam Matthews, Head of Disputes 2016-2018 (Credit: BBC Panorama – Is Labour Anti-Semitic?)
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