Martin Forde

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Person.png Martin Forde KCRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Martin Forde.jpg
Alma materOxford University

Martin Forde KC is a British lawyer who became a barrister in 1984, took silk in 2006 and has a practice which covers all aspects of Health Law.[1] Acting for both claimants and defendants, Martin Forde has undertaken clinical negligence claims of the greatest severity, and has appeared in disciplinary and regulatory tribunals on behalf of medical professionals such as dentists, doctors and chiropractors.[2]

After an unexplained 2-year delay, Martin Forde published his 138-page report into the leaked report on anti-Semitism in the Labour Party on 20 July 2022.[3]

Windrush scandal

In May 2018, Home Secretary Sajid Javid appointed Martin Forde to advise on how to compensate the 5,000 or more victims of the Windrush scandal who lost their jobs or homes, or were detained or deported after being wrongly classified as illegal immigrants. Forde said he wants to get a fuller picture of the suffering caused by the Home Office’s unfair treatment of a generation of people living in the UK for most of their adult lives without formally applying for citizenship, and who began to experience severe difficulties with the government’s implementation of “hostile” immigration policies around 2013:

“We’ve had people email saying the stress led to the breakdown of relationships – people who have lost their job, can’t pay their rent, are then rendered homeless, their living arrangements change, separate, their relationship breaks down. We need to try to get the fullest picture we can of interrelated claims.”

Forde's determination to create an effective scheme was partly fuelled by the experience of his parents who came to the UK from Barbados and St Lucia:

“My father did national service here. As children they were told that they were going to rebuild this country post-war; they were told that this was the mother country.”[4]

Labour antisemitism report

Leaked Labour antisemitism report

On 1 May 2020, Sir Keir Starmer appointed Martin Forde to head an inquiry into the leaked report on anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.[5] Forde will lead a three-member panel consisting of former Labour General Secretary Larry Whitty, former Welsh Labour councillor Debbie Wilcox and Emeritus Professor of Social Policy at Loughborough University Ruth Lister who are all Labour peers in the House of Lords.

How likely is it that Martin Forde's inquiry will reach the same conclusion as Craig Murray? ("That Leaked Labour Party Report proves conclusively that Sam Matthews’ allegations of unwarranted interference from Jeremy Corbyn’s office to block anti-semitism action are malicious lies.")[6]

The investigation is expected to conclude in July 2020 when Forde presents his findings to Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC).[7]

Whitewash underway?

On 1 May 2020, SKWAWKBOX reported:

Three weeks ago, Keir Starmer and his deputy Angela Rayner promised:

"We will therefore commission an urgent independent investigation into this matter."

But their announcement also made clear that the investigation’s focus was to be more on why the report was commissioned and who leaked it than on the content of the report – which contains a mass of WhatsApp conversations among senior staff that have led to complaints including electoral and disciplinary sabotage, racism and misuse of party funds.

Roller in Hand with Huge Tub of Whitewash?

And today’s appointments to the panel include at least two who are anything but independent – a move that has convinced many on the left that the report will be nothing more than the whitewash that many have feared from the moment the report and its scandalous contents were leaked.

Astonishingly, a panel meant to investigate allegations that include obstruction of the processing of racism complaints including antisemitism – and comments by staff members described as antisemitic – includes no Jewish person.

A move to include the highly-regarded Labour peer Alf Dubs was blocked by the Labour right on the NEC because he made comments supportive of Jeremy Corbyn during the UK/2019 General Election. The vote to include him was defeated by 18 votes to 16.

So apparently it’s OK to have Corbyn opponents and Starmer supporters on the panel, but not to have a supporter of the Labour leader whose electoral campaigns were undermined by right-wing staff.

This is not even an attempt at a show of credible independence. This is roller in hand with a huge tub of whitewash at the ready.[8]

Forde Inquiry

On 11 February 2021, Martin Forde addressed this letter to the acting General Secretary of the Labour Party, David Evans:

Dear David,

Forde Inquiry

As you are aware, following the leak on 9 April 2020 of the report entitled “The Work of the Labour Party’s Governance and Legal Unit in relation to antisemitism, 2014-2019", the Party quite properly informed the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) of potential significant security breaches.

As you can see from the annexed document, the Panel have been working extremely hard to deliver our report in the early part of this year. We have recently been made aware, however, that as a result of those potential breaches, the ICO has indicated it is making inquiries, pursuant to its statutory duties. Having regard to the possible direction and outcome of those inquiries, we are therefore concerned that the publication of our report could prejudice those inquiries and our ability ultimately to deliver our final report to the NEC.

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.

Finally, we have noted much ill-informed speculation as to the perceived delays in the delivery of our report. As the annexed document shows, we have been fully occupied interviewing witnesses, reviewing a large number of documents and considering over 1,000 submissions from Party members and affiliates.

Any suggestion that I, or my Panel, have been subject to pressure from the Party regarding the delivery, content and conclusions of our report is entirely refuted. In fact, the Party and its officers have not sought to influence its content in any way.

Yours sincerely,

Martin Forde QC Chair[9]

"Not the Forde Inquiry"

The full 2-hour "Not the Forde Inquiry”

A year on and with no sign of Martin Forde's report, a "Not the Forde Inquiry” event was held on Saturday 5 June 2021 at 7:00pm, organised by the Labour in Exile Network (LIEN).

Norman Thomas, one of the organisers, said the event would give people the chance to say in public what they would have told the inquiry if they had had the chance: “This explosive leaked report appears to be a shocking exposé of an attack on democracy at the heart of the Labour Party.

“This is far too important for the inquiry to be delayed any longer. We have to get these things out into the open now."

Mr Thomas, who was chairman of South Thanet Constituency Labour Party (CLP) until he was suspended for allowing members to debate the withdrawal of the Labour whip from Jeremy Corbyn, said: “I believe the Forde Inquiry’s findings are being suppressed because the party’s leadership simply wants to bury the truth.

“But we, the grassroots members, aren’t going to let that happen. We refuse to be silenced.”

Among those testifying to the inquiry will be former Momentum vice-chairwoman Jackie Walker and ex-Labour MP Chris Williamson, who are both named in the leaked report.

Other speakers included Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL) co-founder and ousted party member Graham Bash, JVL co-chairwoman Councillor Leah Levane, Labour Against the Witchhunt co-chairwoman Tina Werkmann and former Hove CLP chairwoman Rebecca Massey. The inquiry also heard a special message from film director Ken Loach.[10]

Publication date

During the "Not the Forde Inquiry" event, one of the 500 participants posted that the Forde Report is scheduled to be published on 21st June. The provenance for the statement was given in the chat for the event as this Wikispooks article in a seemingly circular manner. As of 7th July 2021 the Forde Inquiry report is still not published...

Report published

Jeremy Corbyn on the report that the Mainstream Media doesn't want you to know about

On 20 July 2022, the Forde Report was finally published. Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said:

The Forde Report casts an important light on events in the Labour Party in recent years. My election as leader in 2015 was a major shock in British politics. It wasn’t about me, but a popular demand for anti-austerity politics following the 2008 financial crisis and 35 years of market fundamentalism.

Despite overwhelming support from members and affiliates, powerful groups in the party found that change hard to come to terms with. This led to a conflict in Labour that created a toxic environment, which the Forde Report lays bare. In any party there are groups and factions, but the resistance we were faced with went far beyond that.

It included the secret diversion of campaign funds by senior HQ staff in the 2017 election, which Forde rightly condemns as “unequivocally wrong”. Whether or not that prevented the election of a Labour government, it was dishonest. In a democratic party those decisions should be taken by the elected leadership. Too often the will of the membership was overridden by people who thought they shouldn’t have had a say in the first place.

Whatever arguments there are about specific findings, this report should help us see a path forward. The politics of the many, not the few, are more needed in this country than ever. We suffer a cost of living scandal while billionaire wealth soars and climate breakdown accelerates while fossil fuel companies boast record profits. For the Labour Party to be the vehicle for a better and sustainable world, things need to change.

The appalling behaviour that Forde calls out, including the repulsive racism and sexism shown to Diane Abbott and others, should have no place in a progressive party. Toxic factionalism is far from over – nor are persistent problems of racism and sexism – and action must be taken, as Forde makes clear.

Most of all, the Party needs to decide what it is for and who decides that. Are we a democratic socialist party, run by members and affiliated unions, that aims for a fundamental transfer of wealth and power from the few to the many? Or are we something else?”[11]

Quickly buried from view

Forde heard 'almost nothing' from Labour

On 17 March 2023, Jonathan Cook wrote:

Just to recall: It was entirely predictable that the Forde Report, which disrupted the establishment's convenient 'Labour antisemitism' narrative, would be quickly buried from view.[12]
Martin Forde KC, who was commissioned by Sir Keir Starmer to investigate the leaking of a report showing Corbyn was sabotaged by his own head office staff, says anti-black racism and Islamophobia are not taken as seriously as antisemitism by Starmer.
Forde made 165 recommendations for reforms to deal with racism against black and Asian members in the Labour Party. He says he’s surprised to have heard 'almost nothing' since from Labour officials.
The media was obsessed for four years with a supposed ‘antisemitism problem’ in Labour under Corbyn, despite a lack of evidence for such claims. But that same media, says Forde, has shown zero interest in his report showing an anti-black and Islamophobia problem under Starmer.
Instead the BBC put pressure on Forde to alter his report, which had noted that a Panorama special accusing Corbyn’s Labour of antisemitism was ‘entirely misleading’. Reporter John Ware sent a letter sounding as if he was threatening legal action, Forde observes.
Forde: ‘Somebody needs to find a way of encouraging respectful debate [in Labour] such that it is understood that it is not automatically antisemitic of you to express a criticism of government policies in Israel.’[13]


Related Documents

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Document:That Leaked Labour Party Reportblog post20 April 2020Craig MurrayThat Leaked Labour Party Report proves conclusively that Sam Matthews’ allegations of unwarranted interference from Corbyn’s office to block anti-semitism action are malicious lies.
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