Yesterday, the SKWAWKBOX revealed that the release of the Forde Inquiry’s report on the leak of a Labour party report – one that accuses former senior staff of abuse, sabotaging election campaigns, diverting election funds to secret projects and more – would be delayed for a second time. The inquiry was originally scheduled to report during the summer but was delayed to December. The new delay was said to put back publication until after next year’s local elections.
Yesterday, the Inquiry’s press office would only say that an ‘update’ on the schedule was to be published ‘shortly’.
That update has now been published. It does not provide a date for publication, but reads:
The Forde Inquiry is working towards publishing its report early in 2021.
This revised date is largely the result of the weight of submissions received from the Call for Evidence and the fact that the Panel wanted to have the benefit of the report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission to inform its work. The EHRC Report was published on 29 October 2020.
We will keep this site updated regarding any developments.
Labour insiders have linked the delay to Keir Starmer’s fears over next spring’s local elections. The Forde Inquiry’s update gives a different official reason – but not one that will be any more satisfactory to those who feel Labour’s 2017 general election campaign, which came within an ace of success, failed because of sabotage.
Many Labour supporters already considered the Inquiry to be fatally compromised by Starmer’s decision to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds to settle a case against former staff that the party’s lawyers expected to win – and Starmer’s broadening of the inquiry’s scope to include the leaking of the report as well as the events it revealed.
They will justifiably feel disquiet over the idea that the findings of an inquiry meant to get to the bottom of the facts alleged in the leaked Labour report are to be ‘informed’ by a report conducted by a separate organisation – one which said that the allegations of the leaked report were not within its remit to analyse (because Starmer’s Labour declined to ask for it to be included) and whose conclusions have been criticised over their legality.
And those appalled by the leaked report still have no firm date for the publication of those findings, some five months after they were originally supposed to be disclosed.
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