Party’s attempts to bring innocuous emails between Karie Murphy and her lawyer struck down, causing even bigger funding gap for general election
The Labour party’s attempt to bring private correspondence between former Corbyn chief of staff Karie Murphy and her lawyer as evidence in its attempt to sue five former party staff over the infamous leaked Labour report exposing racism, fraud and sabotage by right-wing staffers has been rejected by a judge, leaving the party facing a huge legal bill even before the main case concludes. ‘Mainstream’ media appear to have ignored the result.
Ms Murphy had not attempted to obtain an injunction against the release of the email, instead relying on the normal privileged status of communications between client and lawyer. The party made no suggestion that the message, which it has already seen after being able to access Murphy’s private email, contained anything incriminating and confirmed it was not even attempting to argue ‘iniquity’ – the one potential legal route for breaking privilege – further reinforcing the fact that the email was not incriminating. Murphy and her solicitor have testified that there is nothing relevant in the email.
Labour has already admitted that it doesn’t really know – despite spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on forensic investigators – who leaked the report and that it has no ‘smoking gun’ showing anyone was responsible, yet it tried to override legal privilege anyway.
Labour now faces a six-figure bill for the legal costs of its failed application – a situation the party can ill afford given the reported £15 million shortfall in its funds for the next general election campaign, which has already caused concern among members of its national executive about the soaring costs of its bizarre legal action. The Information Commissioner (ICO) has already ruled that there is no evidence to support a claim that any particular individual had obtained or released personal information unlawfully.
The judge also ruled that the party knew that Ms Murphy was unaware that Labour still had access to her personal correspondence – and that it acted wrongly in not informing her about it:
Against this background, the fact that Ms Murphy imposed no constraints on the searches that could be undertaken is of little significance. She mistakenly believed that she did not need to impose such constraints, because her personal information had been removed. The Labour Party’s IT staff knew this to be false but quite deliberately did not alert her to this fact.
[The Labour Party] should have realised that it was confidential.
The judge also ordered Labour to re-plead the entire basis it thinks it has for suing the five former staff.
Keir Starmer’s grim tenure as Labour leader has been punctuated by reckless legal spending in an attempt to hide or deflect from sabotage by right-wing staff exposed by the leaked report – including a decision to pay hundreds of thousands to right-wing staff named in the report to settle a case the party’s lawyers expected to win easily.
Now the regime’s profligacy has dug an even deeper financial hole from which its next general election campaign will struggle to climb out. As happens regularly, his allies in the so-called ‘mainstream’ media are ignoring it.
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