Activists suing Labour over leaked antisemitism report ‘fear being targeted if named’

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Activists suing Labour over leaked antisemitism report ‘fear being targeted if named’

The claimants' lawyer Jonathan Turner claimed the nine were at "risk of physical violence".

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

A demonstration outside Labour's headquarters.

Credit: @gbaigel on twitter
A demonstration outside Labour's headquarters. Credit: @gbaigel on twitter

A group of nine activists who are suing the Labour Party after their names appeared in a leaked report into antisemitism risk being targeted by “nutcases” and “neo-Nazis” if they are now identified again as those taking legal action, the High Court has been told.

In an anonymity application heard in the High Court of Justice Queens Bench division, sitting before Mr Justice Chamberlain the claimants’ lawyer Jonathan Turner said the nine were at “risk of physical violence”.

The barrister, who is also chair of the UK Lawyers For Israel group, also claimed there was a chance his clients “may be visited at home by extremists” if details of their addresses were put into the public domain.

Labour is being sued by the nine people who made complaints of antisemitism to Labour and whose details were included in an 850-page anti-Semitism report, which was leaked shortly after Keir Starmer replaced Jeremy Corbyn as party leader in April 2020.

The claimants are asking for £300,000 compensation in a claim brought against Labour for distress and injury to feelings.

But the party have sought to blame five former staffers for the leak of the report, which had been intended to be sent to the EHRC ahead of their report into Labour’s handling of antisemitism in the party under Jeremy Corbyn.

It was never sent to the equalities watchdog ahead of it being leaked onto the internet.

The High Court was told the leaked report “identified the claimants by name, stated they had made numerous complaints about antisemitism, and suggested the number and nature of their complaints had contributed to the failures to deal with antisemitism satisfactorily.”

It was claimed that “after the leak the report was rapidly circulated on the internet.. links to it were posted on extremist websites propagating Jewish conspiracy theories and on other websites accompanied by threatening comments.”

In a request for their anonymity application, the claimants’ lawyers argued of the “risk that public identification of them in the context of bring proceedings against the Labour Party would result in hostile and potentially violent actions against them by antisemites.”

In the High Court on Tuesday, Anya Proops KC, representing Labour said the party were “neutral” over the anonymity application, as was the lawyer representing the five former party staffers.

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