The Labour Party have agreed to pay “substantial damages” to seven former employees and has apologised in the Hight Court to a group of antisemitism whistleblowers.
Labour has accepted that press statements against them in 2019 were in fact “defamatory and false,” after they spoke out in a BBC Panorama programme last year.
Labour admitted that they wrongly accused the seven whistleblowers of “bad faith” and had caused “distress, embarrassment and hurt.”
Labour said they will pay “substantial damages” with additional court costs which is most likely to cost well over £500,000.
Sir Keir Starmer the new Labour leader’s High Court settlement marks a significant moment in the party moving on and away from scandals during the Jeremy Corbyn era.
Mark Henderson, representing Labour, told the High Court, “The Labour Party acknowledges that these claims about the claimants are untrue, and we retract and withdraw them and undertake not to repeat them.
“The Labour Party is here today to publicly set the record straight and to apologise to the claimants for the distress and embarrassment that it has caused them.”
The Labour Party said in a separate statement, “We acknowledge the many years of dedicated and committed service that the whistleblowers have given to the Labour Party as members and as staff.
“We appreciate their valuable contribution at all levels of the party.
“We unreservedly withdraw all allegations of bad faith, malice and lying.
“We would like to apologise unreservedly for the distress, embarrassment and hurt caused by their publication.”
The party will also pay damages to journalist John Ware who presented the BBC’s Panorama investigation, as he was falsely accused of “deliberate and malicious misrepresentations designed to mislead the public.”
The whistleblowers’ barrister, William Bennett QC, said the party had alleged that Ware “invented quotes, flouted journalistic ethics and … knowingly promoted falsehoods” in pursuit of “a pre-determined outcome to the question asked by the Panorama programme.”
The BBC said in a statement, “We welcome today’s long overdue apology to John Ware and the seven Panorama whistleblowers, who have been subjected to painful and damaging personal attacks on their integrity and character.
“We applaud their strength to take this case forward and are pleased it has been recognised in court that these extremely serious and damaging allegations against them were false and have been unreservedly withdrawn.”
The whistleblowers who brought the case to the High Court, were Katherine Buckingham, Michael Creighton, Samuel Matthews, Daniel Hogan, Louise Withers Green, Martha Robinson and Benjamin Westerman.