Analysis

Video: Starmer twice refuses to deny lawyers said Labour would win case – or that £600k surrender to ‘whistleblowers’ was political

Labour leader Keir Starmer has twice declined to deny, during an interview with Channel 4 News, that the party’s lawyers said it would win a libel case brought by ‘whistleblowers’ who attacked the party during last year’s widely-derided Panorama programme – or that he made a ‘political decision’ to pay out a figure reported to be around £600,000 rather than take the case to court.

Instead, Starmer hid behind the excuse that he wasn’t going to discuss legal advice – but if the answer was ‘no’, he had ample opportunity and reason to do so:

Starmer’s decision to roll over instead of fight emboldened Labour’s enemies to threaten and issue further legal action and, according to reports, risks bankrupting the party. His general secretary David Evans has also written to local parties banning them from expressing their own opinion on the climb-down.

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19 comments

  1. This from a great comrade in the North East earlier today:-

    “During last years mass mainstream media assault on the Labour Party, the phrase “Labour’s Red Wall” was plucked out of the (Tory) blue. Sounds formidable.

    What the phrase refers to is the historic grip of right-wing professional Labour politicians on political life in North East England. This social democratic domination has a long history going back to the election in 1874 to parliament of Miners leader, Thomas Burt. Burt was liberal/labour and never joined the Labour Party.

    The ‘wall’ is a myth. The betrayal of socialist objectives by almost every Labour MP and MEP in the north east since Burt has produced mixed political awareness in working class voters. At times of acute political and economic developments, the absence of progressive leadership has seen further moves to the right. The red wall is really a pro-capitalist Trojan horse.

    During the general election the mixed messaging, in particular over the EU, saw the barbarians make gains just south of Hadrians’ real wall.

    Yesterday Starmer came calling. A semi politically conscious journalist asked him if his action was a legal or a political decision to financially settle out of court Labour’s recent case against members who had assisted in Labour’s election defeat. He replied it was neither, it was “the right decision”, he said.

    Wrong! Lawyers had advised Labour would win.

    For Starmer, in the tradition of Burt, this was bad news, as winning would have substantially vindicated Jeremy Corbyn.

    This kind of jiggery pokery may help rebuild the wall. But it won’t be red!”

    1. Agreed, the Red Wall in the NE is a myth, as is the description ‘Labour Heartlands’ when treferring to that area. In the NE they voted Labour out of habit rather than conviction. On the other hand, the genuine Labour areas such as Merseyside remained true to Labour, which is why they had no time for Farage and his lies during the Brexit fiasco.

      1. As per usual, you’re talking through your hat. Newcastle, North Tyneside and some sections of Merseyside were remain pretty much in proportion to the preponderance of middle-class people and students. The true picture in both places comes from places like Blyth and South Tyneside in the North East and St. Helens and Warrington in the NW. You give yourself away by referring to NE Labour voters as “they.” “We” are “they” and as a matter of interest I’ve worked in all the 4 leave-voting areas mentioned above (plus the 3 remain voting areas), because I made it my business to. It’s a shame the Labour Party didn’t.

      2. labrebisgalloise, what nonsense!

        I was referring to areas in general, not picking enclaves as you have done to try and intimate that it was mainly ‘working class’ areas which supported Leave. It’s my contention that it was the more well informed and less easily swayed areas which voted Remain whether they be in poorer or better off locations. Merseyside being one of them, as shown by the rejection and continuous, unwavering refusal to accept the SCUM rag.

        And before you get back on your high horse, I too have lived, worked and campaigned in those areas and know them well and can tell you that particularly in the NE, which was targeted by Farage, it was opposition to immigration which had the greatest effect. The intentional tactic of the far right to create division worked particularly well there.

      3. JackT…….referring to the ‘more informed’ (& less emotional?) you mean the bourgeoisie? The privileged ‘thinking’ class who read the Guardian & hate anything & everything that is Socialist, but most of all they hate ‘the deplorables’, the working class who have been ‘left behind’ by Blairite neo-liberal globalism & the cheap labour advocated by the EU. The poor may not be ‘well educated’, but they are not so stupid as to believe that Blair’s mass import of cheap labour, which led to the ‘gig economy’ works in their interests. This may not tick any PC boxes @ the BBC, but you can’t fool all the people, all of the time…….or can you?

      4. Steve, in an effort to shoehorn your preconceptions into your responses, yet again you have not taken note of what I said. When I said ‘the more informed’ it obviously referred to those of all dispositions, whether they are Guardian readers or not and from whichever strata of society they occupy. Your high horse is a donkey, not that I’ve anything against donkeys, after all, they’re usually ‘working class’. So stop riding on their backs to try and embelish a point.

    2. Red wall largely dominated by red Tories and remainers
      So your right temporary embarrassment has no chance getting them back
      They will be back when financial pandemic and No Deal hits us for six,
      First things first, we need a new leader, clear red water and a clear out of Quislings and Bad Actors

  2. “Confidential advice that we have had on ONGOING cases.”

    I thought the cases referred to had been settled, and finished and were not ongoing? There are ongoing cases, but not the ones the interviewer was referring to, surely?

  3. If there was legal advice that the case was winnable – as was obvious to a child given that cast members of the Pano drama had previously starred in “The Lobby” – paying £600k to them amounts to misappropriation of Party funds by Starmer in my non-professional opinion.

  4. In trying to dictate the content of discussions that members of CLPs have the Labour Party General Secretary is in breach of the rule book as pointed out by a barrister here 👇

    “The NEC and therefore the GS has no authority in the rules to dictate what is ‘competent business’ for a CLP to discuss. The only authority is in Chap 1, VIII, 3.E-“The NEC shall from time to time, issue guidance and instructions on the conduct of meetings…” CONDUCT not CONTENT”

    1. You are right.
      And if the CLPs do not insist on the public withdrawal of this diktat they might as well close up shop.
      This is unprecedented in Labour Party history and is just more confirmation of the reality that when democrats in the Labour Party are being condemned as ‘Trots’ it is by tin pot parodies of Stalin, such as for example this recent refugee from the world of Spivs.

      1. If Corbyn had taken a few more tips from Uncle Joe we wouldn’t be where we are now. He started well by bringing in Seumas, Andrew and Steve but either they lacked the courage to finish the job or they lacked the forces to do so. I suspect the latter is the more likely case, aided and abetted by “Trots” and brain-donors like McDonnell, Paul Mason, the AWL etc. The PLP and the ruling class were pushing at an open door, given the amount of wallies pissing inside Corbyn’s tent.

  5. I’ve lost count how many times when Starmer is confronted with a tricky question. He automatically reverts to his mantra of ‘I’m not prepared to discuss that.’
    Over the party’s own lawyers he decided to believe those claimants. As we all know if he thinks he’s settled this he’s very much mistaken. Proved by their constant calls for him to expel Corbyn.
    In the past it has also been alleged the lawyer involved has suggested he doesn’t care if anyone who he comes against in court is made virtually homeless.
    I do wonder if Starmer thinks this is a price worth paying.

    1. Er, No BoB, Starmer knew full well they were lying through their teeth. Starmer and the Blairights were never-EVER going to contest the case and run the very high risk of Jeremy being vindicated AND the criticisms made of them and John Ware and the Panorama program being judged valid. And it wouldn’t just reflect very badly on THEM, but also on the BBC for defending the program AND on Ofcom.

  6. Why do we still not know who or what gave temporary embarrassment the power to overrule the legal advice

  7. Regardless of the wording of Starmer’s reply we can see it in is eyes that he is lying, or evading to the extent that he can convince himself that he is not (quite) lying. The very fact that he did not want to talk about the ‘case’ tells us that his decision was a political one.

    He’s not being honest!

  8. “He’s not being honest!” Well duh – he’s a lawyer.
    Law school teaches them very quickly that if they want to make money they have to cast aside any lingering attachment to truth, honour, decency or normal human values – lawyering is about getting the right result for the clients however undeserving the crooked bitches’ cases might be.
    Back (in 2016/17?) when the bargain with the Israel lobby was struck, their assistance in keeping Corbyn out of Number 10 I assume was mostly paid for in kind – unquestioning acceptance of the IHRA handcuffs on the BDS, free speech, reason and logic – the 600k was presumably for the extra costs associated with the Pano drama, ie Equity membership fees, bribes etc.
    How people can be stupid enough to breed with professional liars like Smarmer is beyond me – neutering them like Castrati should happen the moment they pass the bar.

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