Forde Report Summary (Pt4): Overview of Allegations in the Leaked Report
The Forde Report has picked out 6 key allegations from the leaked report that they believe give real cause for concern, while also admitting that there were other issues that the authors of the report may have considered equally concerning.
Forde sets the stage at the start of this section with an overview. He starts by saying that most of the GLU staff who produced the report were young, inexperienced and “broadly on the left.” He then states that their objective was to counter the narrative that the delay in handling anti-Semitism complaints was as a result of interference from LOTO, making the leaked report a “slanted document.” In Forde’s view, irrespective of whether or not the accusations are accurate, the Leaked Report “represents another front in the factional warfare it describes.” This is a surprising claim by Forde as he is effectively saying that he has identified factional motives behind the creation of the leaked report. It will be interesting to see what evidence might be presented, later in the report, to support that claim. Forde does however acknowledge that the origins of the report are not as important as whether or not the allegations are true and, if so, how harmful they are to the party.
Forde notes that some of the people they have spoken to, who were mentioned in the leaked report, claimed that the authors of the report deliberately “cherrypicked and selectively edited” extracts from the WhatsApp group, which made it “unrepresentative and misleading.” Forde categorically rejects this claim, explaining that, even though the majority of the WhatsApp messages were normal discussions about work and family life, after fully reviewing the transcripts and considering the evidence for themselves, Forde found that the vast majority of messages that had been selected for the report were accurate and were “deplorably factional.. insensitive and, at times [showed] discriminatory attitudes expressed by many of the Party’s most senior staff.” He confirms that comments made by senior HQ staff were “unprofessional, unkind and entirely inappropriate,” but acknowledges that some appeared to have been said in jest and, even though they were clearly offensive, they were not intended to be taken literally. He gives the example of comments made by senior staff in the “Forward Planning” WhatsApp group, one of whom had remarked that someone had seen Diane Abbott “crying in the loos,” while another member responded that they should contact journalist Michael Crick because he had doorstepped another colleague earlier that same day. Forde is clear that most of the “messages quoted in the leaked report fairly represent the tone and contents of the discussions about Jeremy Corbyn, his staff and the party’s left.” Furthermore, Forde found that there were also “a significant number of comments in the transcripts, which were not quoted in the leaked report but which demonstrated the same kind of hostility as those that were.” Forde adds that, given the fact that these comments were made in private groups (i.e. never meant to be made public), in his opinion, the comments truly reflect the “unguarded views” of a number of senior staff at Labour HQ. He does however acknowledge that HQ staff should have been afforded the right of reply before their messages were referenced in the leaked report.
There are 6 key allegations covered in this section of the Forde report. Spotlight will cover these is subsequent articles over the coming days…
Allegation 1: There was an unusual intensity of factionalism between 2015 and 2019, largely evidenced by the attitudes and conduct of senior staff toward the leadership.
Allegation 2: Factionalism adversely impacted the handling of complaints during this time.
Allegation 3: Factionalism adversely impacted other areas of the party’s work during this time.
Allegation 4: Factionalism negatively impacted the results of the 2017 general election and one faction may have even sabotaged the election campaign.
Allegation 5: Problems were exacerbated by poor recruitment practices and inadequate staff management.
Allegation 6: The party has a problem with racism, sexism and discriminatory behaviour in the work place.
The primary purpose of the The Forde Report Summary is to make the Forde report more accessible to a wider audience We’ll also be scrutinising some of it’s findings, where appropriate to do so. Spotlight will be publishing the summary report in sections over the coming days and you can find links to earlier published sections below…
Spotlight is 100% independent. Our content is free for all to read and share and we also prefer to stay advert free. If you appreciate this content then please consider supporting Spotlight by subscribing or making a one off donation. You can take out a monthly subscription for as little as £1 a month or you can make a one-off donation if you prefer.