Well… this is an odd response from the Labour complaints team

August 20, 2018

by Martin Odoni

Following up on that complaint I lodged with the Labour Party over the weekend about the misdeeds of the fringe group Labour Against Anti-Semitism, I today received a reply from Tim Dexter of the complaints unit. Here is the text; –

_____

Dear Martin,

Thank you for your email.

I want to assure you that the Labour Party takes its responsibilities in handling sensitive data extremely seriously and we would never provide third parties with any sensitive information they are not entitled to.

LAAS are a completely separate organisation to the Labour Party. They are not affiliated to the party and do not hold any status within the party.

If you have concerns about how they have obtained your data I suggest in the first instance you ask them where they obtained the information from. If they are unable to provide a satisfactory response then you should consider raising a complaint with the ICO, information on how to do this can be found at the following website: https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/your-personal-information-concerns/personal-information-concerns/personal-information-concerns-report/

Many thanks,

Tim Dexter
Complaints Officer
The Labour Party

_____

This reply is, at best, puzzling.

Firstly, I never implied that the Labour Party itself was leaking sensitive data to anybody – the thought had never even crossed my mind come to that – so this is the classic example of a guilty-sounding, unsolicited denial that, far from allaying suspicions, instead raises suspicions that were not there in the first place. A child greeting his parents when they get through the front door with the words, “The baby-sitter’s making it up!!!” springs irresistibly to mind.

Secondly, the bit about LAAS being a separate organisation is not really the point. I did mention it myself in the original complaint, come to that, and I was asking quite explicitly for the party to take action against them for operating in Labour’s name without permission. Mr Dexter displays startlingly little interest in that idea, or concern about the damage LAAS could do to the party’s reputation.

Furthermore, some of LAAS‘ members (see below), most particularly Euan Philipps, are members of the Labour Party. Even if they treat their capacity as LAAS members as a completely separate business, when they do what they do in the name of the Labour Party, that non-afiliation status should not afford them any protection. But Mr Dexter appears happy to let Philipps et al have it both ways.

Thirdly, I never suggested that LAAS has hold of my contact data at all. I am certainly not aware of receiving any communications from them. I was drawing the party’s attention to LAAS using contact data of an NEC member against his explicit instructions. Use of such data when ordered to delete it by their subject is expressly illegal. Furthermore, LAAS‘ attempt to use his request to damage his reputation over social media might also be illegal under defamation laws. Again, Mr Dexter appears to be utterly disinterested in this.

I can only conclude that the Labour complaints team are perfectly comfortable with members of the party being engaged in illegal behaviour when acting in the name of Labour. Given how over-zealous the complaints team are about going after members who criticise Israel, that seems to be a decidedly uneven attitude.

Either that or the complaints team did not pay proper attention to what I wrote.

Keyboard headbutt

My general reaction to the largely-irrelevant reply I got from the Labour complaints team.

On a related note, a contact of mine has sent me the following information about the identities of other LAAS members, and the source she has for how they have been identified; –

Emma Picken (Feltham), Jonathan Hoffman (on LBC) Denny Taylor (in Twitter bio) Saul Freeman (appeared on The Big Questions with Nicky Campbell as spokesperson) Jessica Jacobs-Schiff (outed by Euan as convenor after nominating her for a JLM Award on JLM site promptly taken down from public view next day).

I know Denny is still a [Labour] member but Saul isn’t. neither is Hoffman obviously. Schiff stated she left but needs checking. She is Intl Labour in Copenhagen. We have a feeling that Euan and Emma have been suspended as they removed Labour from their Twitter bios but not 100% I think it would be worth contacting Lewisham East and Tonbridge and Malling CLP as press to get that clarified. Euan’s CLP hates him so you should get an answer off them.

I should be surprised to see that the ineffable Hoffman is a member of a group with ‘Labour’ in its name, given how malevolently right wing he and most of his associates are. But I am not surprised at all. Nor am I surprised to see him operating in a group that behaves illegally.

Whatever the case, I shall send a follow-up complaint to the Labour Party soon, and include these names as further members who require investigating.

 

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4 Responses to “Well… this is an odd response from the Labour complaints team”

  1. untitled Says:

    Emma Picken says she’s just been reelected as a delegate to the General Committee of her CLP, so she is apparently still a member.


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