Jeremy Corbyn
Labour apologises for defaming Panorama journalist John Ware

The Labour Party has today issued an apology to journalist John Ware, who i presented the July 2019 BBC Panorama programme about antisemitism within the Labour Party. This comes in the wake of the party settling a defamation lawsuit with Ware surrounding statements made about him before the programme's broadcast. 

The party has also agreed to pay damaged to the experienced broadcast and print journalist. 

Labour released a statement, saying that they "would like to apologise unreservedly for the distress, embarrassment and hurt caused by their publication". 

The statement continued: 

Under the leadership of Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner, we are committed to tackling antisemitism within the Labour Party. Antisemitism has been a stain on the Labour Party in recent years. It has caused unacceptable and unimaginable levels of grief and distress for many in the Jewish community, as well as members of staff. 

If we are to restore the trust of the Jewish community, we must demonstrate a change of leadership. That means being open, transparent and respecting the right of whistleblowers and the free press and freedom of expression which includes the right to object to things written or published. We are determined to deliver that change.

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who led the party during the peak of its antisemitism crisis including this incident, said: 

Labour Party members have a right to accountability and transparency of decisions taken in their name, and an effective commitment from the party to combat antisemitism and racism in all their forms.

The Party’s decision to apologise today and make substantial payments to former staff who sued the party in relation to last year’s Panorama programme is a political decision, not a legal one.

Our legal advice was that the party had a strong defence, and the evidence in the leaked Labour report that is now the subject of an NEC inquiry led by Martin Forde QC strengthened concerns about the role played by some of those who took part in the programme.

The decision to settle these claims in this way is disappointing, and risks giving credibility to misleading and inaccurate allegations about action taken to tackle antisemitism in the Labour Party in recent years.

To give our members the answers and justice they deserve, the inquiry led by Martin Forde must now fully address the evidence the internal report uncovered of racism, sexism, factionalism and obstruction of Labour’s 2017 General Election campaign.

The party was also subject to an investigation from the Equality and Human Rights Commission on institutional antisemitism within the party, which is expected to be released to the public next month.