The second episode of Al Jazeera’s The Labour Files was a bit of a Croydon special, with cameo appearances of the local branch of the English Defence League, as well as another appearance by Croydon North MP Steve Reed, and the full story of how one party member was ‘thrown under a bus’ by the Corbyn leadership as it was attacked over antisemitism
The second part of the Al Jazeera Investigation Unit’s documentary series The Labour Files aired on Saturday night, with further disturbing revelations from inside party headquarters, based on a massive leak of documents.
But the version of the programme released on YouTube includes an extra half-hour of material, and even more shocking information about how the party was being run before, during and after the time when Jeremy Corbyn was leader.
The documents leaked to the programme-makers include legal advice to the party HQ in the libel case over the 2019 Panorama programme on antisemitism in Labour and fronted by John Ware. The party’s lawyers recommended that Labour had a strong case and ought not to settle with Ware and the BBC. But the party, under the leadership of Sir Keir Starmer, instead caved in, paying Ware a six-figure sum in costs and damages.
The Forde Report, written by independent barrister Martin Forde and eventually published by the Labour Party earlier this year, described Panorama’s use of internal party documents as “entirely misleading”. One of the Al Jazeera programme’s witnesses described some of the testimony aired by Panorama as “an outright lie”. They even had a recording of the meeting in question to back up the claim.
The second episode in the series, titled “Crisis”, “reveals how the party’s bureaucrats, whose nominal function is to serve the interests of the party, attempted to undermine members supportive of Jeremy Corbyn, Labour’s leader from 2015 to 2020″, says Al Jazeera, a channel funded in large part by the government of Qatar.
“Crisis” includes an accusation from a Thornton Heath-based anti-racism campaigner, Marc Wadsworth, that he was “thrown under the bus” by the then party leader Corbyn, when he was falsely accused of being antisemitic by Labour MP Ruth Smeeth.
Wadsworth, a civil rights campaigner, lecturer and journalist, founded the Anti-Racist Alliance in 1991.
The Al Jazeera programme shows the incident which led to Wadsworth’s two-year battle to clear his name, where at a 2016 press conference launching the Chakrabarti Report on antisemitism he remarked that Ruth Smeeth MP was working “hand in hand” with the right-wing Daily Torygraph.
Smeeth’s subsequent accusations against Wadsworth were promptly removed from her website once the activist lawyered up. But two years later he was still expelled from the party, after what he described as a “kangaroo court” found him guilty of the charge of “bringing the party into disrepute”.
- The third part of The Labour Files, “The Hierarchy”: “how the Labour Party created a hierarchy of racism by prioritising antisemitism over Islamophobia and other forms of discrimination” airs tonight at 9pm
- The YouTube edit should be available tomorrow, while Inside Croydon understands further coverage of The Labour Files is expected to be released later this week
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