Journalist "considers" suing Jeremy Corbyn over Labour anti-Semitism settlement comments

22 July 2020, 20:10

By Fiona Jones

Journalist John Ware tells LBC he is "considering" suing Jeremy Corbyn after the former Labour leader called it "disappointing" that the party apologised to him over the anti-Semitism investigation.

The Labour Party has agreed to pay "substantial damages" after making "false and defamatory" comments about journalist John Ware who investigated anti-Semitism within the party last year in a Panorama programme.

Seven whistleblowers have also received an unreserved apology and compensation for being defamed for their role in the documentary.

The party branded Mr Ware as "deliberately setting out to mislead people" and while he normally believes vehemently in free speech he told LBC the comments went "well beyond conventional criticism [and]...they needed to be brought to account."

Shortly after the verdict the former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn criticised the party for apologising and called it a "political decision" as opposed to a legal one.

Mr Ware interpreted that these comments implied himself and the whistleblowers "didn't really win the case", Keir Starmer wanted to apologise "for pragmatic reasons in a case that was otherwise defensible."

John Ware told Iain Dale that he is "considering" taking the former Labour leader to court
John Ware told Iain Dale that he is "considering" taking the former Labour leader to court. Picture: PA/LBC

He told LBC he'd been advised that the statement by Mr Corbyn was defamatory in itself and he "has to consider" whether he wants to sue Mr Corbyn personally.

John Ware said he could not imagine Mr Starmer's press office falling into the same "elephant trap" and suggested the new Labour will not enter into the same defamatory behaviour.

Iain asked Mr Ware if the BBC had stood behind him during the defamation case and he replied that while he didn't think "they liked it that much they didn't stand in his way."

Mr Ware said: "What I was doing in a way was saying let's hear it for mainstream journalists because whatever elements of dishonesty there are in mainstream journalism, and there is, it fundamentally operates to standards and rules."

Iain congratulated John Ware on his win today for proper journalism.