BBC staff reveal how Labour officials reacted to Panorama anti-Semitism show with ‘Stalinist paranoia’
- BBC documentary made bombshell allegations about how party handles anti-Semitism
- Claims included that key Corbyn aides intervened in several cases of complaint
- BBC insiders say party officials have showed ‘Stalinist levels of paranoia’ over the show
Labour officials displayed ‘Stalinist levels of paranoia’ over allegations made by whistleblowers in this week’s Panorama documentary, it was claimed last night.
BBC sources are said to have told colleagues they regarded Labour’s response to questions by journalists as ‘hopelessly inept’.
They said the party’s 50 pages of written answers to claims made by ex-Labour staffers interviewed by the programme contained multiple examples of evasions and untruths.
Jeremy Corbyn has received a lot of criticism for failing to effectively deal with allegations of anti-Semitism in the Labour party
According to BBC sources, one passage in particular was described as showing ‘Stalinist levels of paranoia’ – in its claim that whistleblowers may have ‘generated’ apparently incriminating emails just to undermine Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership years later.
Labour has complained to BBC director-general Lord Hall about the programme, which it said was full of ‘deliberate and malicious misrepresentations designed to mislead the public’.
It also claimed its presenter, John Ware – one of the BBC’s most experienced investigative reporters – was biased.
And it queried some of the episode’s assertions, including that Mr Corbyn’s key aides Jennie Formby and Seumas Milne intervened in anti-Semitism cases.
But last night a spokesman for the Corporation said: ‘The BBC stands by its journalism and we completely reject any accusations of bias or dishonesty.’ Panorama also approached senior figures implicated, including Mr Corbyn and Mr Milne, but Labour would not let them appear on the programme.
A Labour spokesman did not specifically deny the claims by BBC sources. But she said they were a ‘desperate attempt’ to deflect criticism of its ‘seriously inaccurate, politically one-sided programme…’