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Jackie Walker [Image: Andy Hall for the Observer].

Jackie Walker [Image: Andy Hall for the Observer].

It’s turning into a bad autumn for Labour Party general secretary Iain McNicol.

First he incurred litigation by party member Glynis Millward, on grounds that he excluded her from the Labour Party leadership election for no reason. Mr McNicol’s name was on the letter of suspension she received, for taking part in “recruitment” practices prohibited by the party. Except, of course, Ms Millward has never done so.

Part of her case is that Mr McNicol breached Data Protection law by combining publicly-held social media information with privately-held Labour Party data in order to reach his conclusion.

Then he was forced, as party treasurer, to pay a £20,000 fine after the Electoral Commission found major irregularities in Labour’s declaration of its spending on the 2015 general election – including the cost of that monumental embarrassment, the ‘Ed Stone’.

Now Jackie Walker is crowdfunding a legal case against Mr McNicol, again over a breach of Data Protection law.

Ms Walker, a lifelong anti-racist campaigner and socialist, was suspended from the Labour Party in May amidst allegations of anti-Semitism. She was reinstated but has been suspended again after apparently being “set up” at a training event organised by the Jewish Labour Movement during the party’s national conference in September.

She writes [boldings mine]: “I was suspended from the Labour Party in May of this year, amidst what appears to have been a breach of Data Protection law by Iain McNicol as General Secretary of the Labour Party.

“This is my campaign to raise money in order to bring legal proceedings against Iain McNicol for this serious breach of data – briefing a major community media publication or other parties before informing me of my suspension from the party. This is not acceptable in his position as General Secretary of the Labour Party.

“As General Secretary, Iain McNicol is directly responsible for the damage caused to me, my family and friends.

“I was suspended for the alleged (subsequently cleared) charge of antisemitism. As a Jewish person, whose partner is Jewish, this was heart-breaking.

“Since May I have continued to be targeted by the media, in print, online and in other places.

“Currently I am suspended for questions asked at a training session on ‘Confronting Antisemitism & Engaging Jewish Voters’ at this year’s Labour Conference, after being unethically filmed by a Jewish Labour Movement campaigns officer who is also a Labour councillor. It seems this training was not a ‘safe space for all Jews’ by any means.

“As soon as the first article was released before my notification had even arrived, trolls circled for the kill, posting spooky blacked up faces (and worse) to my Facebook account. The community and national newspapers led the attacks, querying my Jewish identity (a racist move in itself), my work as an anti-racist activist and my political commitment.

“When my suspension was lifted things got worse. Indignation at my alleged breach reached the heights of irony when Nigel Farage, anxious not to miss out on the fun being had by among others, the Spectator, a number of Labour MPs and officers of the Party, dedicated an article in Breitbart and a good dose of righteous indignation on national TV to publicly calling me out as a racist.

“The widespread hate campaign against me led to public abuse, strangers shouting ‘racist’ as I walked to the tube. With the murderous racist political discourse now taking the place of debate, I became conscious I was recognisable on the street.

“My story is just one of many where Labour members have found themselves in a similar position. While this may not be the only case where a breach has occurred, as I was abroad at the time it may well be the most provable.

“We invite anybody who has a personal interest in this case or the wider public to contribute.”

Solicitor Martin Howe, representing Ms Walker, added: “Jackie Walker has faced a barrage of hurtful, threatening and nasty abuse since the private details of her investigation by the Labour Party over alleged anti-Semitism was leaked to the press before even she knew of her suspension by the Party.

“This apparent breach of her private data has had a devastating impact on her public and private well-being and has led directly to her being pre-judged and unfairly cast as a racist before she was given any opportunity to tell her side of the story.

“Data Protection laws are there to protect all of us and any breach is a very serious matter.”

Anybody wishing to support Ms Walker financially can do so by visiting the Walker v McNicol page on the CrowdJustice website.

Ms Walker is hoping to raise £10,000. At the time of writing she has already raised £7,260, with 28 days to go.

If you would like to contribute to her fund, details are on the web page.

Source: CrowdJustice – Crowdfund public interest law

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