On Sunday, April 19th, the Jewish Chronicle posted an article which stated that, due to lawsuits relating to breach of confidence, invasion of privacy, and libel claims as a result of the leaked antisemitism report, (related question) the Labour party could face a bill of up to £8 million:

Labour could be bankrupted by lawsuits after an antisemitism report compiled by allies of former party leader Jeremy Cobyn (sic) was leaked to the public.


Sources close to those complainants say more than 30 individuals may sue the party over breach of privacy and for putting their safety at risk.

Labour could face a legal bill as high as £8 million over the leak, which could bankrupt the party, according to the sources.


Mark Lewis of law firm Patron Law, who is representing 20 of the people affected, said: “If this bankrupts the Labour Party or individuals, so be it. Actions have consequences.

This reminded me of a situation that occurred in 2008, when the Guardian reported that due to the party's large amount of debt, party officials could become personally liable for the sum:

Senior officials in the Labour party, including Gordon Brown, could become personally liable for millions of pounds in debt unless new donors can be found within weeks, the Guardian has learned.


The advice from City solicitors Slaughter and May said unequivocally that leading party officials and members of the NEC would be " jointly and severally" responsible for the party's debt.

The reason is that the Labour party constitution is framed like a local club or society, and has no provision for limiting the liability of its officials or managers.


The Labour party is said to be investigating whether it can change its status to a limited liability company to protect its officials and NEC members - but such a move could be open to legal challenge until it clears its debts.

Has any such change of status taken place, either by amending the Party's constitution or through some other method?

1 Answer 1


As far as I can tell, the answer appears to be no. An article published by the Independent in October 2019, reports on the fears of members of the NEC:

Members of Labour’s ruling executive have privately voiced fears that the party could be bankrupted as a result of an official inquiry into antisemitism, The Independent has learnt.

Members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) have expressed concerns that a damning verdict from the equalities watchdog about Labour’s handling of antisemitic abuse could open the party up to a slew of lawsuits from Jewish members and former members, possibly resulting in hefty damages having to be paid.

It is understood that the issue was discussed at a recent NEC meeting, with members of the committee voicing major concerns about the fallout from the probe and who would be financially responsible.

As a result of these fears, members inquired as to what indemnity the Labour Party has against such claims:

They believe that, like trustees of a charity, they are legally and financially responsible for the party.

Others committee members are said to have been “stunned” when it was pointed out that they may be personally liable.

One NEC member said of the EHRC inquiry: “If it’s really bad then it opens up all sorts of possibilities and it has been raised that the whole thing could basically bankrupt the party.

“People are really worried. The party has been asked to let us know what indemnity it has because there are concerns that NEC members are going to ultimately be responsible for this.

“If we were a charity, the Charity Commission would have been all over us months ago. The EHRC is effectively playing the same role as the Charity Commission and we are effectively the trustees. That means we are legally responsible.”

However, no answers appear to have been forthcoming:

Another Labour source with an understanding of the situation added: “There are fears that if the EHRC goes against the party then individual victims will have the right to go for damages from the party, and who knows where that ends up – nobody can be sure because there’s no precedent for it.

“Nobody quite knows what the liability is for the individuals NEC members. If they are liable then it makes it even more damaging that Jennie [Formby, Labour’s general secretary] and her team won’t share their understanding of what the damages might be and the possible implications. Clearly, NEC members are worried about that scenario but the conversation got completely shut down.”

It would seem, then, that nothing has changed legally since the article in the question, which means the legal advice given then, that "leading party officials and members of the NEC would be 'jointly and severally' responsible for the party's debt", presumably still applies.

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