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This is an absolute disgrace:

It’s the latest anti-Jeremy Corbyn piece by the Sunday Times reporter responsible for manufacturing such nonsense, Gabriel Pogrund.

You may remember that Mr Pogrund included a series of – let’s call them what they are – lies about This Writer in an article published on February 4 last year. If you need to refresh your memory, you can read my response to that piece here.

The Sunday Times was forced to publish a correction on January 13, when the press regulator IPSO ruled against the newspaper after I complained in the strongest terms possible. Here‘s my account of that.

Mr Pogrund based his allegations about me on a leaked Labour Party report to the party’s National Executive Committee. I had a chance to read that report as it was included in the charge sheet sent to me in advance of my disciplinary hearing before the party’s National Kangaroo Court National Constitutional Committee and it would be fair to say not only that the information it contained was wildly inaccurate in many parts but also that Mr Pogrund took liberties with it.

So I would strongly advise that anybody reading his current article should treat the allegations therein with extreme caution.

Don’t get me wrong – if any of the allegations against Labour Party members that are featured in the article are accurate, they are deplorable and those responsible deserve to be drummed out of the party at the very least. However:

At no point in what is visible of the article on the Sunday Times front – which is all that is available to me at this point, and I’m damned if I’ll spend another penny on that hack-rag – is there any confirmation of its information from a Labour Party representative who would know about it.

No evidence is given to show whether the claims about particular individuals are accurate or merely allegations.

And nothing in the visible part of the article directly connects the claims it makes about alleged interference in Labour anti-Semitism investigations with Jeremy Corbyn himself.

Yet the headline clearly refers to the individuals listed in the piece as “Corbyn’s anti-Semite army”.

The piece carries comments from Tom Watson, of whom current opinion among Labour Party members can be summed up as follows –

– and from Margaret Hodge, who has become a “rent-a-quote” for people writing smear stories about Mr Corbyn.

I think the Labour leader has very strong grounds to take Mr Pogrund and his newspaper to court for defamation.

This is a critical time for the people of the United Kingdom.

Hysteria over Brexit is at fever pitch, with Theresa May in negotiations with a Labour team on a way to save the process from the disaster she has made of it.

If the talks fall apart, it is possible that Mrs May will trigger a general election in the hope that a new Parliament may be able to support one of the options available.

And in this context, The Sunday Times publishes a piece smearing the leader of the Opposition.

Fortunately for sanity, it is also published in the context of a long line of smear pieces against Mr Corbyn that means it is unlikely to be taken seriously by anyone other than the Tory-supporting media who have a vested interest in repeating its claims until people who are easily-led start believing them. Expect a segment on the BBC’s The Andrew Marr ShowSunday Politics and possibly even Politics Live on Monday (April 8).

The rest of us are more likely to agree with this:

Still, there is enough in the article to demonstrate an intent to lower Mr Corbyn’s standing in the opinion of right-thinking people generally – damaging his reputation at a time when he may be about to lead the Labour Party into a general election. And I see no proof that the allegations in the article are accurate, or that Mr Corbyn has been involved in what it claims.

When Conservative MP Ben Bradley tweeted a false allegation that Mr Corbyn sold national secrets to Communist spies, Mr Corbyn pursued him with a threat of legal action if he did not apologise – and so he (eventually) did.

Let’s look forward to similar action from Mr Corbyn over this.


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