Forde Report delayed at ICO’s request? Not a bit of it!

JVL Introduction

We heard in February that the Forde Inquiry into Labour’s leaked report to the EHRC had been delayed at the request of the Information Commissioner’s Office.

Skwawkbox has just checked this out. It appears to be untrue. A fiction. A lie.

The ICO confirms that “we have had no contact with the Forde Inquiry and have not revised any information from or given any directions to the Inquiry”.

We can only speculate as to reasons for the delay – and none of our speculations redound to the credit of the Labour Party machine…

Will the Inquiry ever report? It looks increasingly unlikely. Too threatening to the current regime?

This article was originally published by Skwawkbox on Sat 1 May 2021. Read the original here.

Exclusive: Forde Inquiry had NO contact with ICO before shelving report – or after – and party now moving to withhold it permanently

Freedom of Information Act request reveals no contact – and suggests right-wing staff contacted inquiry to put brakes on

In February, as Skwawkbox had predicted, the release of the Forde Inquiry’s report on its investigation into the conduct of right-wing former staff – and the WhatsApp messages and emailed revealed in a leaked Labour report last year – was delayed indefinitely. The investigation, commissioned by Keir Starmer, was due to report last summer but was repeatedly delayed amid accusations that Starmer had ordered the investigation for the sake of appearances but wanted it firmly in the long grass and even treated it with contempt on more than one occasion.

The reason given for the latest, open-ended delay was that the report might interfere with an investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) into complaints of personal data breaches in the leaked report – but Skwawkbox can exclusively reveal that the ICO had not had any contact with the Forde Inquiry. Not to discuss any delay – nor for any other purpose.

A Freedom of Information Act (FOI) request to the ICO put the following questions, largely concerning any contact between the ICO and the inquiry:

The ICO’s response to confirms that it had had no contact at all with the Forde Inquiry:

From this response, it is clear that the ICO raised no concerns at all about any impact of the Forde report on its own investigation that might have triggered the delay. Instead, it seems that right-wing Labour staff – or perhaps Keir Starmer himself – contacted Forde.

The ICO reportedly received a complaint about the leaked report and supporting documents being given to the Forde Inquiry at all – but the ICO had clearly not considered the issue worth pursuing with the inquiry.

Nonetheless, current and former Labour members and Labour voters – who saw the party denied victory in the 2017 general election, at least in part because of undermining and hidden agendas by senior right-wing staff – have been denied indefinitely the results of the investigation into the actions of those staff.

Skwawkbox contacted the Forde Inquiry and asked:

An FOI request to the ICO has revealed there has been no contact between it and the Forde inquiry. On what basis did the inquiry decide publication of its report would conflict with the ICO investigation and who contacted the inquiry to initiate that process?

The Forde Inquiry replied:

We refer you to our letter to the NEC in February and, in particular, this paragraph:

“We have considered whether any aspect of our report can be disclosed despite the existence of the ICO’s inquiries.  However, after careful consideration, we consider there is a real risk that even partial disclosure of our report and findings could have the potential to prejudice the ICO’s work.  As soon as its inquiries are completed, and resolved, we will provide a report.”

The Forde Inquiry did not answer the questions about the basis for deciding there would be a conflict, nor who had contacted it to raise the issue.

‘Private communications’

Meanwhile, Labour has made a ruling about its internal activities that means the report will probably never be published.

NEC member Ann Black published a summary of the most recent meeting of Labour’s now right-dominated National Executive Committee (NEC) and pointed out that the party is now treating texts, emails, WhatsApp messages and phone calls as private communications exempt from its code of conduct:


Starmer’s Labour looks set to complete its betrayal of members and its whitewash of the behaviour of right-wingers whose own conversations suggest they worked against the Labour victory that the UK and its poor and vulnerable so desperately needed.

Comments (12)

  • Jan Brooker says:

    I pinted out that typo to Skwawkie, and he’s now changed “The ICO [presumbly the Forde Inquiry – JVL] replied:” to “The inquiry press office replied:” No need to post this comment, but you might wanna change the text above, to match, now. Best.

  • Jan Brooker says:

    I met Martin Forde, when he came to Liverpool to address a WINDRUSH compensation consultation my partner organised [before she left the LP after commenting, as a Black African woman, on the Maafa (African Holocaust) which triggered 4 AS and racism charges]. Took him back to the station after. Looks like the LP has *set up* a leading Black Barrister, a form of racism in itself? Forde got increases to the compensation paid, after the racists that devised the Hostile Environment were put in charge of the compensation scheme: dealing out an average of £8,000 ~ to people whose jobs, benefits, health and family lives had been disrupted.

  • Linda says:

    The Forde Inquiry report is absolutely vital if the Labour party is to heal. Just as a marriage can’t “work” when one partner is convinced the other is persistently untrustworthy and dangerous, neither can an organisation.

    A large part of the Labour family think their colleagues betrayed them repeatedly in pursuit of a private agenda of their own. If Labour was sabotaged from within (which I think is more likely than not) then those who behaved so badly MUST be identified, punished (if possible) and removed from the organisation. The Forde report is the only mechanism we have for fairly investigating whether Labour was sabotaged (and by whom).

    If distrust lingers unresolved, it’ll poison all relationships and make honest communication impossible.

    Political parties which are no more than hollowed out shells don’t win elections unless the odds are “fixed”. I doubt whether any individuals or organisations are sufficiently powerful and committed to a Labour victory to “fix” the electoral odds for Starmer and Evans.

  • Paul Smith says:

    Martin Forde’s reputation is on the line. Is he going to do a Lord Hutton re the death of David Kelly, or follow the example of Sir John Chilcot, who surprised us all with his report on the events leading up to the war on Iraq? That is the question. He has a choice.

  • MAX COOK says:

    We MUST have the report and I Don’t have ANY respect for Keith Scammer or any of the other neoliberal officials and MP’s, we on the left deserve justice and democracy from our beloved party.

  • Janet Crosley says:

    Thankyou for this. I can’t see how the LP can live with this obviously dishonest leadership. Is it just we have easier dissemination of information or are they more manipulative and self-seeking?
    How can we counteract lies.?

  • DAVID EATOCK says:

    My comment on a Labour Party Forum Facebook page requesting that the Forde Inquiry report be published received a number of responses along the lines of this one – ‘The inquiry was presented with more submissions than it ever expected hence the initial delay. Since the ICO inquiry has commenced however, the panel cannot present its findings until the ICO has concluded it’s investigation.’ It would seem that many in the Labour Party have accepted this as the status quo. However I agree with Linda’s comment above. What steps could be taken to ensure that the evidence submitted to the Forde Inquiry is made publicly available? A petition to the NEC? A parallel Inquiry commissioned by Trade Unions who fund the LP? It is very unfortunate that the direction the LP is taking has resulted in the resignation of thousands of members and the suspension of many others. Attempts to bury or water down the Forde report must be resisted.

  • Margaret West says:

    Bit confused here – so what was the status of the Forde Enquiry-
    can Forde publish it independently of what the Labour Party says? In fact has Forde been approached as to the recent revelations concerning the ICO – after all he is a QC.

    I did not even understand the response of the NEC via Ann Black ? Are they retrospectively altering the Code of Conduct and if so what has this to do with Forde..? After all at the bottom line we have the possibility of fraud here as well as the attack on democracy.

    Another related question – where does this leave the LP members who are allegedly suing the LP on account of their “private” emails
    being leaked .

    Really though – why am I surprised at this ..

  • Doug says:

    Last time I checked there is a class action based on the internal report, hope that’s still happening

  • Sabine Ebert-Forbes says:

    It is vial that both the leaked report and the report compiled by the Forde enquiry are published. The issues need to be discussed widely, openly and honestly. How else can we resolve them and learn from it.
    Those found that they have been sabotaging leadership and 2 elections need to face the music.

  • mark Francis says:

    So we have the Chakrabarti Report & the Forde Report that Sturmer chooses to ignore or repress. The EHRC is now full of Tory nominees & the guy who led it is a “Whig Party ” candidate (?) yet Sturmer prefers to believe them. In any event, the evidence of anti-Semitism they found was thin at best, yet they chose to spin it a particular way. Its almost like nobody cares about the truth anymore. More like having an agenda to fill.
    Further I think it should be anti-Semitic for a non Jew to accuse a Jew of being anti-Semitic – although I always thought Lenny Henry started his career from taking the piss out of other black people (especially Africans) but did not think it for me to say. More recently he said as much & that he regretted it. But somehow its acceptable regarding “Jewish Anti Semitism”

  • John Adrian Burns says:

    This matter has gone on too long, the issue needs to be forced out now. The suggestion of a Trade Union backed enquiry might be the way, if they want to break the mystery. Otherwise we’ll never really know whether we had rotten apples in the barrel or not. Not unconnected is the small matter of handing over all that cash to possible traitors. We’ll never know just who was really involved in the undoubted dirty job done on JC, unless we stop being so descent about. One thing which is quite clear however, is the acceleration of the purge of the left: now that the Prince of Darkness has been brought back in to ‘advise’, if we are not careful we may never be able to unravel the facts

Comments are now closed.