Jewish Voice For Labour settles and apologises in John Ware libel case

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Jewish Voice For Labour settles and apologises in John Ware libel case

Co-founder Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi and web editor Richard Kuper agree to settle case brought by the Panorama presenter after she falsely labelled him an 'Islamophobe'.

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, of Jewish Voice for Labour holds up a sign at the #EnoughIsEnough Demonstration against antixemitism, featuring a yellow star and the word Jews

Photo Credit: Marc Morris
Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, of Jewish Voice for Labour holds up a sign at the #EnoughIsEnough Demonstration against antixemitism, featuring a yellow star and the word Jews Photo Credit: Marc Morris

The Jewish Voice For Labour group, its co-founder Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, and website editor Richard Kuper, have settled and apologised in a libel case brought against them by the journalist John Ware.

A statement tweeted by the pro-Jeremy Corbyn group at 6.49 pm on Thursday stated: “Mediation in the case brought by John Ware against Jewish Voice for Labour and two of its officers has now occurred and we can announce that terms of settlement have been agreed, including an apology from Naomi Wimborne Idrissi and JVL for defamatory statements made on the Jeremy Vine Show and included in a Facebook post which we reproduced on our website on 15 July 2019.”

Asked to comment, Ware told Jewish News: “I can confirm my case against Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, JVL and Richark Kuper has been settled and that there will be a full apology made to me in open court next month.”

Asked if he had been awarded damages, the  BBC Panorama reporter said  the terms of the settlement did not permit him to disclose the details.

However, JVL has issued a plea for £200, 000 on the Crowd Justice website after admitting the settlement “comes at considerable financial cost.”

The size of the payment suggests JVL have had to pay both costs and damages.

The group added:”The legal costs we had to incur in order to bring about a successful settlement cannot be disclosed but are considerable and have to be paid in a very short space of time.”

JVL declined to give a breakdown of the payment. “As part of the settlement reached neither side is at liberty to comment on the terms of the agreement” they told Jewish News.



John Ware interviewing former Labour staffers on Panorama. (Credit: BBC Panorama )


Ware had begun the libel claim after saying JVL had defamed his reputation as a professional journalist following the broadcast of the July 2019 BBC Panorama programme that investigated antisemitism within Labour under Jeremy Corbyn.

The day after transmission JVL’s media officer Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi told the BBC Radio2 Jeremy Vine show that Ware had “ a terrible record of Islamophobia, far right politics, he’s been disciplined at – BBC has had to apologise.”

She also wrote on her Facebook page that Ware was a journalist with a “ record of right wing, racist work.”

Ware’s lawyer Mark Lewis responded by stating he has never been disciplined for anything by the BBC, is not an Islamophobe, has never engaged in “far right politics” and that none of his work was  racist.

Initially JVL argued that Ms Wimborne Idrissi’s words were expressed as merely honest opinion.

However, a judge ruled she had asserted them as if they were fact. This  meant that if JVL were going to defend them as being true, they would have to  seek to prove they were true at trial on the balance of probabilities.

Rather than adopt a “Truth Defence”, instead JVL sought to justify her words under the lesser known libel defence of  “privileged right of reply to attack” in response to what the JVL described as “ the very public attacks contained in the Panorama Programme against our members, the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn.”

They noted Vine’s radio show had “involved clips from John Ware’s interviews with four former Labour Party members, all of whom were highly critical of the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership in relation to antisemitism.”

They added:”JVL were well known as being close supporters of the Corbyn leadership.”

Earlier this summer, however, JVL said they wanted to explore a settlement through mediation.

Ware has already successfully sued the Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn for falsely alleging that he had “ deliberately” set out to “mislead the public in the Panorama on antisemitism “invented quotes” and “knowingly promoted falsehoods and “fabricated facts.”

He is also suing a former TV producer and Corbyn supporter Paddy French who runs a website exposing “rogue journalists.”

French accused Ware of  having “engaged in dirty tricks  aimed at harming the Labour Party’s chances of winning the General Election by authoring and presenting  an edition of Panorama in which he presented a  biased and knowingly  false presentation of the extent and nature of antisemitism within the party, deliberately ignoring contrary evidence.”

However, French recently announced that he had dropped Truth as a defence in the case but continues to justify his comments on the ground that they were in the public interest.

Explaining his reason for taking proceedings against  JVL at the outset of the case Ware said; “They need to understand that there’s a high price to pay if you go around making false claims.

“The accusations that I am an ‘Islamophobe, racist and engaged in far right politics’ are grossly offensive. The Court will decide whether they are lies.”


Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: