'The Labour high command is to be sued by former employees who broke cover last week to criticise the party’s handling of cases of alleged antisemitism in a dramatic escalation of the row engulfing Jeremy Corbyn’s party.
Two of the whistleblowers who featured in last week’s explosive BBC Panorama programme entitled Is Labour Anti-Semitic? – Sam Matthews and Louise Withers Green – contacted the Observer last night to say they had instructed the prominent media lawyer Mark Lewis to act on their behalf because they believed the party had defamed them in its response to their claims. Others who spoke to Panorama are also understood to be considering contacting Lewis to represent them in libel actions.
On the evening the programme was aired, a Labour spokesman said: “It appears these disaffected former officials include those who have always opposed Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, worked to actively to undermine it and have both personal and political axes to grind. This throws into doubt their credibility as sources.”
Lewis, who works for Patron Law, and is well known for his role in pursuing phone-hacking cases and for representing the family of murdered teenager Millie Dowler, said: “It is incredible that after the programme Labour wilfully attacked the whistleblowers, falsely accusing them of making deliberate, malicious representations, and misleading the public, while also calling them disaffected former officials whose credibility as sources was in doubt.”
He added: “These are very serious libels. Those representing the Labour party have acted in a way that set out to destroy the reputations of the whistleblowers. In their effort to destroy these people they have left it for the courts to decide who is telling the truth. It is ironic that the bosses at the workers’ party have decided to go against the workers.”'
Read more: Whistleblowers to sue Labour as antisemitism row deepens
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