Tag Archives: error

DWP won’t contact over 100,000 ESA claimants owed millions in compensation

This comes courtesy of Benefits and Work; This Site is just passing it on:

The DWP has refused to follow a recommendation by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) to contact over 100,000 ESA claimants who are owed compensation totalling many millions for DWP errors. However, one claimant has been awarded £7,500 in compensation and we explain below how you can begin a claim if you were affected.

The issue relates to mistakes made by the DWP which began over a decade ago.

In 2011 the DWP began transferring claimants from incapacity benefit to employment and support allowance (ESA). However, in many thousands of cases the DWP only assessed claimants for contribution based ESA and failed to check whether they should also have been awarded income-based ESA.

Eventually, after many complaints and awards to claimants who had missed out, the DWP reluctantly launched a LEAP exercise to identify claimants who had been victims of their error.

This resulted in 118,000 claimants getting backdated awards of ESA, in many cases amounting to thousands of pounds. Others also got awards outside of the LEAP scheme.

However, these claimants were not told that they might also be entitled to special payments because they had missed out on other benefits or undergone hardship as a result of the DWP’s maladministration.

Indeed, the DWP specifically told claimants that they could not complain to the Independent Case Examiner and did not tell them about the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO).

However, one claimant – known as Ms U – had advice from a welfare rights worker. As a result, she did complain the PHSO after the DWP refused to pay her compensation in addition to £19, 832 in backdated ESA.

The PHSO found that Ms U had suffered considerable hardship and her health had suffered as a result of the DWP’s failures. She had also missed out on free prescriptions, warm home discount payments and other help such as paying for a washing machine.

The PHSO recommended that the DWP pay Ms U £7,500 as compensation and also pay interest on the back payment of ESA.

The DWP paid Ms U, but refused to follow another recommendation of the PHSO.

This was that they contact claimants both within the LEAP exercise and outside it who had been given ESA arrears due to their maladministration, look into their circumstances and award them any appropriate compensation.

Instead the DWP argued that: “should a claimant feel that they should receive compensation due to their individual circumstances, they can contact the Department and set out their reasons. All requests received will be considered on a case by case basis.”

The DWP know very well that almost none of the affected claimants will ever discover that they might be entitled to compensation and thus they will never know to ask for it.

In a recently released letter dated 10 May 2022, the PHSO said that they were “extremely disappointed” with the DWP’s decision not to follow their recommendations.

Unfortunately the PHSO has no power to force the DWP to do so.

We know that only a small proportion of Benefits and Work readers will have been affected by this issue.

But if you are one of them, we have a downloadable letter, complete with instructions, that you can use to begin the process of applying for compensation.

It comes with no guarantees that it will work, but waiting for the DWP to act seems to guarantee that you will not get a penny of what you may be owed.

If you are not personally affected but know someone who may be, please send them a link to this article.

And if you regularly post in a forum or belong to a group that might include affected people, again please give them a link to this page.

Who is affected

Affected claimants are those who were transferred from incapacity benefit to ESA, a process that began as far back as 2011, and who later received a lump sum payment of arrears because the DWP had failed to award you income-based ESA as well as contribution-based ESA.

Many claimants who received such a lump sum will have missed out on passporting to other benefits, such as free prescriptions and warm home discount payments.

What you can do

If you think you were affected you can write to the office which administers, or used to administer, your claim for ESA to ask for compensation.

We have created a simple, downloadable letter which you can use as the basis for your own.

We have kept this letter as simple as possible, with instructions for you in italics. If you know the dates of any award of back-dated ESA or the amounts that you may have missed out on then by all means add them. But, at this point, the most important thing is to begin your claim.

If you don’t receive a reply, do as the letter says and make a formal complaint as well as contacting your MP’s office and asking them to pursue the matter

Download the letter in rich text format

Download the letter as a .pdf

You can read the PHSO’s original findings on the case of Ms U here

You can read the correspondence between the PHSO and the DWP here

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How many blunders must Boris Johnson make before we can get shot of him?

Not a good sport: Boris Johnson’s last brush with football was when he tried to use the delayed Euro 2020 tournament – in which England reached the final – to distract everybody in the UK from his catastrophic failures to address the Covid-19 crisis properly.

When Boris Johnson said Ukraine should host the Euro 2028 football tournament, hours after the UK and Ireland had signalled their intent to jointly bid for it, that wasn’t a mistake or a result of bad briefing.

It was stupidity.

The same stupidity informed his claim that Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was teaching journalism in Iran – that the authorities there used to keep her in prison for a five-year term, plus a further year on a separate offence.

He does it all the time – and we should blow the final whistle on it.

Source: AHEAD OF THE GAME: Boris Johnson’s gaffe adds to FA anger

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#DWP has been wrongly rejecting #benefit claims at a record rate

[Image: Black Triangle Campaign].

There are only a very small number of news stories about the benefit system as administered by the UK’s maliciously inept Department for Work and Pensions.

There’s the story about the DWP wrongly denying benefits to people (usually large numbers of them at a time).

There’s the one about loss of benefits (allegedly) leading to the death of a UK citizen (or indeed thousands, as I was able to force out of the department back in 2015).

There’s the one about the DWP promising to improve its performance so it gets its decisions right first time.

There’s the one about the appeal system either being unfit for purpose or finding in favour of huge numbers of claimants.

There’s the one about the costs of a system that aims to penalise people rather than pay them being far more than if everybody was just paid without question.

And there are mixtures of several or all of the above.

This story is a mixture.

It seems the DWP has been wrongly denying benefits to people, the appeal process has been demonstrating this at huge cost, and questions have been asked about why the department isn’t getting its decisions right, even after all these years:

The government is finding a record number of disability benefits claimants have been wrongly rejected by its own assessments as the cost of correcting these errors soars, new figures show.

Campaigners have pointed to “flaws in the system” that led to almost 80,000 Personal Independence Payment (Pip) decisions being overturned at initial review last year.

Meanwhile, separate figures show the cost of these reviews has surged by 26 per cent in the last two years, despite the fact that the number of reviews carried out by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) decreased by 23 per cent over the same period.

The rate at which these appeals have led to a decision being reversed has surged from 22 per cent (46,580 of 236,720) three years ago to 43 per cent (78,390 of 182,880) last year, according to data obtained via freedom of information (FOI) laws.

Separately, figures published by DWP minister Chloe Smith in response to a written parliamentary question show that the cost to taxpayers of mandatory considerations for Pip stood at £24.8m last year, compared with £19.7m in 2018/19 and £13.7m in 2016/17.

Of course the upshot of this is that the DWP is unreasonably harming people’s quality of life.

And this leads me to the final aspect of DWP stories that keeps getting repeated, which is the following:

The DWP is meant to harm claimants’ quality of life. That is the purpose of the benefit system, as far as your Tory government knows.

The ultimate intention is to be able to say that a benefit system is available, while paying out no benefits at all.

Yes, this is extremely harmful to claimants, as we have all seen over the last 12 years. Fatal, in many cases.

And there’s only one way to change it.

After so many years of being told the DWP will learn the lessons of its failures, we can only conclude that it is not learning anything at all – or that the lessons it is learning are about how to harm people in less visible ways.

This is not going to change under the Conservatives*. We need a change of government.

*And no, it won’t change under Labour or the Liberal Democrats either. Please don’t delude yourself with that fantasy for the sake of an easy life.

Source: DWP admits wrongly rejecting disabled people for benefits at record rate | The Independent

BBC geography fail puts Bristol and Birmingham in Wales. And if you think THAT’s bad…

What were they thinking: how embarrassing for Mishal Husein.

This is the funniest howler I’ve seen today.

A BBC news bulletin providing details of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout in England suffered what I can only describe as a massive geographical cock-up.

I don’t really need to describe the nature of the error because it’s right there on the image at the top of this article.

Further illumination is provided by the following tweets:

(These two actually go together very well.)

Of course, in recent years the BBC has become desperate to entertain all points of view – in politics, at least.

So the corporation has insisted on broadcasting statements that were not true, saying the intention was to provide a “balanced” story.

This leads me to ask:

Does the map in the image represent someone’s genuine belief about the locations of these places – and BBC News broadcast it in the name of balance?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Was Universal Credit INTENDED to cause massive errors in payments? DWP accounts suggest so!

People die because of DWP mistakes: here’s Errol Graham, who starved to death because the department wrongly decided not to give him the benefit money he deserved. The organisation later – secretly – changed its rules in a bid to avoid humiliation in court.

Online journalist David Hencke is to be praised for digging these facts out of the black hole of Whitehall obscurity:

The Department for Work and Pensions has recorded its worst year of benefit payment failures, with Universal Credit the worst offender.

Mr Hencke reports that the department has been censured for material inaccuracy in its accounts for the 32nd year in a row – going back to the days of the old Department for Social Security.

Annual accounts released on June 30 show that “Excluding State Pension, the estimated rate of overpayments has increased again to 4.8 per cent (£4.5 billion) of estimated benefit expenditure, from a restated rate of 4.4 per cent (£3.8 billion).

“The estimated rate of underpayments, excluding State Pension, has decreased to 2.0% (£1.9 billion), from its estimated rate of 2.2% (£1.9 billion) in 2018-19. The rate of overpayments in 2019-20 is the highest estimate to date.”

Universal Credit is the worst offender – possibly because the scope for inaccurate reporting of income, and inaccurate provision of payments, is so large. It depends on claimants’ income, which varies from month to month.

The report says: “For Universal Credit, the estimated rate of overpayments increased from 8.7% to 9.4%. This is the highest recorded overpayment rate for any benefit other than Tax Credits (administered by HMRC), which peaked at 9.7% in 2003-04.”

“Underpayments rates have fallen for Universal Credit, Employment and Support Allowance and Pension Credit, and the estimated rate for Housing Benefit has increased. Personal Independence Payment has the highest rate of underpayments at 3.8% of expenditure in 2019-20. This rate has not changed from 2018-19.”

Take note of that: people with disabilities are habitually underpaid and the DWP has done nothing to stop this. No wonder so many of them die.

Mr Hencke’s report lists other omissions that are nothing less than disgraceful:

The Department has never checked whether payments are accurate for claimants on Disability Living Allowance for 16 years – last done in 2004-05.

More extraordinary the Department has never checked whether money paid out to 12 million pensioners is accurate or not since 2005 – that is 15 years ago.

Instead the department maintains there is no serious fraud or underpayments in pensions – calculating it as just £300 million out of an annual payment of £98.6 billion.

Given this year we had a case this year of a 94 year old pensioner being owed a staggering £117,000 because of 34 years of underpayments, I find this complacency mind blowing.

I also think the National Audit Office, as their auditors, is remiss in not asking for an update.

Next year’s estimate of benefit fraud and error is likely to even more out of kilter thanks to Covid 19 as the ministry have got rid of staff monitoring fraud to be able to pay out the 2.6 million claims for universal credit.

And although the department is said to be investigating 143,000 suspicious claims under Covid 19, it can’t follow them up because it can’t visit them at home.

So the prediction is that the situation will become even worse – and much worse – next year.

And you know that the people who will suffer the most will continue to be those in the most need.

The DWP’s permanent secretary is Peter Schofield, who most recently came into the news for quietly changing conditions for receiving benefits after one man starved to death.

Perhaps we need to remind him of his accountancy failures next time he tries to cover up his department’s – call them what they are – crimes in such a way.

Source: Revealed: 32 years of benefit payment failure by the Department of Work and Pensions | Westminster Confidential

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Bungling Starmer is stumbling through one race-related fiasco after another

Dithering and indecisive: and we were told he would sweep Labour back into power!

Keir Starmer is now in serious trouble.

His tone-deaf description of Black Lives Matter as a “moment” – along with a series of other race-related mishaps – has upset a multitude of voters – not just black or from ethnic minorities but everybody – and heralded a mass exodus that he seems ill-equipped to stem.

And the mass media are full of stories about it.

Here‘s black, working-class woman – and now-former Labour member – Evie Muir in Metro:

When Starmer took over this year, I was open to the change in leadership. His voting record on social issues mirrored my values and I was hopeful that this would be reflected in his actions moving forward.

But over the past few weeks, I’ve found myself distancing from the Labour Party at an evolving pace.

Starmer … positioned himself as a leader who will not be exploring [racism] for the party’s constituents. He is not only gatekeeping a problematic institution, but also failing to recognise the nuances within the relationship between the police and Black communities in the UK.

His comments are neglectful of the most recent examples of incompetency in the sector, including the circumstances around 12-year-old Shukri Yahye-Abdi’s death by drowning, and the police officers who just weeks ago allegedly took selfies with Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry, two murdered Black women.

After the statement [on Black Lives Matter] went viral, former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, notorious for his unapologetic bigotry, right wing rhetoric and anti-multiculturalism stance, tweeted that he ‘heartily agrees’ with Starmer’s condemnation of the BLM organisation.

I immediately cancelled my Labour Party membership.

I am not the only one to abandon Labour. My social media feeds, WhatsApp groups and DMs sprung to life with likeminded friends telling me they feel equally betrayed.

Questioning the validity of the only organisation that advocates for Black people, questions the validity of all Black people.

If the Labour Party is not prepared to listen to the needs of Black people, unapologetically support these and advocate for our rights to be heard, then the party is no longer a safe place for us. You are either with us or you are against us, there is no room for debating our humanity, excusing our oppressors or talking over us. This only puts us in further danger.

Starmer’s statement othered us so completely that I no longer feel like we have a home in the party, and as an avid and loyal Labour advocate, this turnaround is humiliating.

I won’t be forgetting Starmer’s comments, and I won’t be returning to Labour under his leadership.

This article has been endorsed by at least one black Labour MP:

Black Lives Matter has published its own opinion:

If you click on the link to the article, you’ll see that BLM is asking Labour members to report anti-black racism within the party – including, presumably, that of its leaders – to their regional offices, with contact details included, hence Jackie Walker’s exhortation for people to do it.

Here’s a tweet identifying two more issues alongside the Black Lives Matter fiasco:

The first point refers to the way party officials allegedly defended “racist, sexist and abusive” messages about colleagues, as seen in the leaked Labour report on the party’s response to allegations of anti-Semitism.

Here‘s The Independent:

One third of the National Executive Committee’s members, including representatives from four trade unions, wrote to the Labour leader this week accusing his office of misleading them about how the party dealt with leaked WhatsApp messages by senior officials detailed in a controversial internal report.

The messages, which included senior officials saying they wished a prominent Labour activist would die in a fire, calling a left-wing staffer “pube head”, and commenting that female advisers had “stopped wearing bras” in meetings, provoked widespread anger in the party when they came to light earlier this year. The party’s NEC ordered an investigation, which is still ongoing.

However, last week Labour’s press office provided a statement to journalists covering the story that defended the comments, describing criticism as “po-faced” and stating: “These were messages exchanged between co-workers in the expectation that they would remain private and confidential and the tone of the language used reflects that.”

The comment outraged NEC members, who called for an apology and retraction at a meeting of the body on Tuesday, but Sir Keir’s office is understood to have told them that the statement was not intended for publication and said it had been provided by the party’s lawyers.

But the offending statement, which The Independent has seen in full, was sent to journalists at the OpenDemocracy website from the Labour press office’s main email account and refers to “the party’s lawyers” in the third person. Although clearly written in legal language, it has the subject line “Re: URGENT: Right of reply offer pre-publication”, suggesting it was issued in response to a request for comment.

Labour has launched an inquiry into the contents of the leaked report, but NEC members – rightly – pointed out that this was now prejudiced by the press release:

In their letter to Sir Keir, the 13 NEC members said: “The Labour Party’s statement was not only inexcusable in defending the racist, sexist and abusive comments in the WhatsApp groups, it also directly prejudged the specific issues that Martin Forde’s inquiry is considering. This prejudices Martin Forde’s inquiry and thereby undermines its independence.

“It is clearly unacceptable for party officials or officials in the leader’s office to politically interfere with or compromise the integrity of the independent investigation that the NEC has commissioned. As members of the NEC, we therefore ask that you issue an immediate apology for this Labour Party statement and retract it completely.”

No such apology or retraction appears to have been made. A statement that the quoted comments “do not in any way represent the party’s position in relation to the contents of the leaked report overall and do not prejudge the outcome of those investigations” is unconvincing; we can judge those words for ourselves.

The storm over the sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey has been well-documented on This Site and elsewhere.

All in all, it seems Starmer has dug a hole for himself and seems determined to sit in it.

Perhaps he thinks this will all blow over and he’ll be able to carry on as though he hasn’t made a damn fool of himself and everybody who follows him.

It won’t.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Appeal Court rules benefit claimants must not lose financially from wrong DWP decisions

Thousands of people who were knocked off-benefit in error by the Department for Work and Pensions and then put on the lower-paying Universal Credit could claim compensation after a court ruling.

Three judges at the Court of Appeal ruled that claimants should not lose out financially if they were forced to switch onto Universal Credit due to an “error of law”.

The case concerned three women who said their benefits were stopped unfairly.

They were subsequently put back on the benefit system, but on Universal Credit, which paid much less than they had previously received, with no transition payments.

They had to apply for UC after the DWP wrongly stopped their benefits in March 2017. Reviewing their cases, the DWP acknowledged the errors made and the decision to stop their benefits was overturned – but they were unable to return to their previous, higher level of welfare support.

They were also not eligible to receive “transitional protection” payments – cash top-ups designed to cover shortfalls for people moving on to UC.

Disabled Patricia Reynolds told the court she lost £180 per month, and a woman known only as TD, together with her severely disabled daughter, lost £140 per month for 18 months.

The three claimants lost their case at the High Court in March last year, but three leading judges overturned that decision at the Court of Appeal.

Lord Justice Singh said: “I have come to the conclusion, that in the present context, the difference in treatment was manifestly disproportionate in its impact on these appellants having regard to the legitimate aim which the DWP sought to achieve.

“It was therefore manifestly without reasonable foundation.”

He added the three women were treated as they were due to “administrative cost and complexity, which have nothing to do with the merits of their cases”.

He went on: “The only reason, in reality, why they moved from legacy benefits to UC was as a result of errors of law by the state itself.”

The judge said it is now for the Work and Pensions Secretary, Therese Coffey, to decide how to respond to the declaration granted by the court.

The Child Poverty Action Group, which represented the claimants, said the ruling could affect thousands of people whose claims for legacy benefits were terminated wrongly.

It claimed that the DWP must act swiftly to implement the judgement, so anyone who claims UC after an incorrect decision to end their previous benefits is protected against financial losses.

The DWP, of course, sees it differently – and is saying far fewer people are likely to deserve compensation.

Source: DWP suffers Court of Appeal defeat that ‘could help thousands’ on Universal Credit – Mirror Online

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UC claimant ‘begging and eating out of bins’ after DWP left him with just £16 per month

The Department for Work and Pensions would hate the world to know about this, so here it is.

You can bet that new prime minister Boris Johnson couldn’t care less.

A Universal Credit claimant has been left begging for food and having to rummage through bins to feed himself after a blunder by benefit officials left him with just £16 a month to live on.

David George Strong, 54, has been left unable to work due to Epilepsy and is now having to repay a Housing Benefit overpayment debt out of his monthly Universal Credit payments, even though the error was not of his causing.

Source: Universal Credit claimant ‘begging and eating out of bins’ after DWP benefit error

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DWP launches SEVENTH review of benefit errors in a year. But were they REALLY mistakes?

Sarah Newton: The Conservative minister for disabled people once said there was no “hostile environment” for benefit claimants. The seven reviews of wrong decisions carried out by the DWP within the last 12 months suggest otherwise.

As I write this, I, Daniel Blake is on the TV – its television premiere. The scene involves the title character’s work capability assessment (he’s claiming Employment Support Allowance), with a “healthcare professional” who does her level best to avoid discussing the heart attack that put him in front of her, and also to avoid explaining how she is qualified to handle his case.

The implication is clear: The assessor isn’t qualified to deal with him and doesn’t want to talk about his genuine health problem because she wants to deny him any benefits.

Aaaaand sure enough, he’s just been found fit for work. Falsely, of course.

I mention this because the Department for Work and Pensions has been forced to launch a seventh expensive review of its own records to find details of disabled people unfairly deprived of benefits.

This particular review isn’t about people being denied benefits because of wrong assessment decisions – it’s actually more appropriate to the situation faced by single mother Katie (Hayley Squires), who is denied a chance to sign on because she arrives late at the Job Centre.

Disability News Service explains: “The latest review is necessary because of an upper tribunal ruling in the case of a claimant moving from disability living allowance (DLA) to personal independence payment (PIP) who had his DLA stopped because he had failed to attend an Atos face-to-face assessment.

“The upper tribunal found that the claimant, OM – who had long-standing psychosis, and became agitated and aggressive around people he did not know – had “good reason” for not attending the PIP assessment that the government contractor Atos had told his wife he would have to attend in one of its London centres.

“The upper tribunal found that OM should have his DLA reinstated until a final decision was made on his PIP claim, while he should also receive backdated payments from the date DWP stopped his DLA.”

The new review means the DWP has to apply the same approach to other cases in which DLA claimants had their benefits stopped because assessors said they did not have “good reason” for failing to attend or take part in interviews or to provide necessary information or evidence for their PIP claim, but were later found to have had a “good reason” after all, by the DWP or a tribunal.

Of course, the operative question here is, why were all these people denied benefits, based on a false premise?

And, if no fewer than six other reviews have taken place to find other people who have been wronged by the DWP, I have to ask: Were these really mistakes? Or were they deliberate policy decisions designed to harm the people DWP is meant to be helping?

I think anyone who’s seen the film will know the answer to both those questions.

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Exposed: The distortions that made anti-Semitism smears possible

Marc Wadsworth (left), introducing the family of Stephen Lawrence to Nelson Mandela.

A great deal of attention has been given on the social media recently (although not the mainstream media, you notice) to the report by the Media Reform Coalition and Birkbeck on the mainstream media’s coverage of allegations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.

It found that there have been “prevalent errors, omissions and skews in the mainstream coverage”, and much of the reporting of it has focused on this headline.

This Writer found much of interest in the case studies, also – especially that which focused on Marc Wadsworth.

Mr Wadsworth has been in the news again recently, after he spoke in favour of Kerry-Anne Mendoza giving the Claudia Jones memorial lecture in his capacity as chair of the National Union of Journalists’ Black Members Council. His comments attracted the enmity of commentators of a certain political leaning, who referred critically to the incident at the launch of the Chakrabarti Report that led to accusations of anti-Semitism against him.

The MRC/Birkbeck report has this to say about it: “The immediate availability of a video recording of the incident offered a useful basis on which to assess the degree to which the activist, Mark Wadsworth, was accurately quoted in reports. Again, this reflects a common theme in much of the related coverage where contentious or controversial statements are paraphrased in reports in ways that can potentially distort their original context or meaning.

“Wadsworth accused Ruth Smeeth, a Jewish MP who had been critical of Corbyn on a range of issues (and especially antisemitism), of “working in hand in hand” with the Daily Telegraph. Given the immediate focus of the event, this was immediately interpreted by some as a veiled antisemitic attack, drawing on a racial stereotype of Jews controlling the media.

“On the face of it, however, Wadsworth’s comments seemed to reflect a widely-held concern amongst Labour members that centrist or right-wing MPs were ‘plotting’ to oust the elected leader of the party, and that this extended to collaboration with some of the Tory-supporting press. As it turned out, these concerns were well-founded as the event was swiftly followed by a wave of shadow cabinet resignations that was at least partly orchestrated with the media, including the BBC.

“Of crucial significance here was Wadsworth’s reference to an interaction he witnessed between Smeeth and a single reporter from a single newspaper. There was nothing in his original comment that either explicitly or implicitly generalized this interaction into a broader accusation of working with the right-wing press or media at large. Indeed, he was subsequently caught on camera having a private exchange with Jeremy Corbyn stating that he ‘outed’ Smeeth for “working with the
‘Torygraph’”. This would seem to support the view that Wadsworth’s charge was not one of collaborating or conspiring with the press in general.

“Yet this is precisely how Wadsworth was indirectly quoted in 13 out of 35 reports. At its most benign, such paraphrasing adopted words such as “colluding with the right-wing press” without any qualification… And at the extreme end of the spectrum Wadsworth was reported in the Sun as accusing Smeeth of being part of a “Jewish media conspiracy” and in a separate article, simply “attacking her for being Jewish”.”

The report added: “It would appear that several journalists had taken cues from Smeeth herself who, in a formal response, had alleged that Wadsworth used traditional antisemitic slurs to attack her “for being part of a ‘media conspiracy’”. In spite of the seriousness of the allegation, nearly half of the reports in the sample (15 out of 33) either quoted Smeeth directly or referred to her allegations without mentioning Wadsworth’s denial. This was a clear subversion of the journalistic principle of offering a right of reply to those who face reputational damage from an allegation of harm.

This was all the more perplexing given that journalists did not have to rely on second hand accounts of what was said at the meeting. Many were in attendance of  the launch which was also streamed live and the video footage – including the recorded interaction between Wadsworth and Smeeth – was easily and immediately accessible.”

The conclusion was: “Underlying the evidence presented here was a persistent subversion of conventional news values…  Journalists covering the launch of Labour’s antisemitism report in 2016 routinely misquoted Mark Wadsworth in ways that invoked a notion of media conspiracy that was entirely absent from his original statement, in spite of the fact that a video recording of the event was readily and immediately accessible.”

I know from personal experience that the treatment of Marc Wadsworth was not a solitary case. Gabriel Pogrund’s Sunday Times article alleging that I was a Holocaust denier relied entirely on a ‘leaked’ report from Labour’s NEC which itself was based on allegations by the Campaign Against Antisemitism. My own original words were publicly available – and had been for more than a year, at the time his report was published.

Whilst I was contacted by Mr Pogrund prior to publication of his story, he did not give me a right of reply on the claims he made.

It is clear that this “persistent subversion of conventional news values” has become standard practice in mainstream media coverage of allegations of anti-Semitism against members of the Labour Party.

In light of the facts highlighted by the report, it seems clear that Labour’s National Constitutional Committee, which examines allegations against members, needs to revisit the case of Mr Wadsworth – and reconsider whether it should continue with the cases against myself and others who have suffered similar accusations.

And then the Labour leadership would be well-advised to consider suing the press outlets mentioned in the report, not only for wasting all our time but for libelling the party as a whole.

It is these so-called newspapers that have brought the Labour Party into disrepute, and not the members whose names they have dragged through the mud.

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