Jeremy Corbyn supporters raise £100k for former leader to defend himself against anti-Semitism claims

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Photograph: James Brady/PA.

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. Photograph: James Brady/PA. - Credit: PA

Jeremy Corbyn supporters have contributed more than £100,000 to a 'legal fund' for the former Labour leader as he faces being sued by Panorama presenter John Ware.

The GoFundMe page was created on Wednesday, shortly after Corbyn had criticised the Labour Party's decision to pay 'substantial damages' to former party employees who took part in the BBC programme's expose on anti-Semitism claims under his leadership.

Ware, who made the programme, is said to be taking legal action after Corbyn's claim that the Labour payout 'risks giving credibility to misleading and inaccurate allegations'.

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The crowdfunding campaign was publicised by the former Labour leader's supporters on social media.

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The page reads: 'The relentless attacks on Mr Corbyn, a man of integrity, honesty and humility cannot be allowed to continue and we have an opportunity here to offer him support in a practical way.

'It will also let him know that his supporters have not forgotten him, nor have they gone away.'

It is not immediately clear how the funds raised by the page will be used. The organiser of the campaign has been approached for comment.

While Corbyn has not commented directly on the campaign, he tweeted: 'Thank you friends and comrades for your solidarity. Our campaigning for a better world continues.'

The decision to pay damages is the latest sign of Sir Keir Starmer's effort to distance the party from his predecessor's leadership, particularly on the issue of anti-Semitism.

Some fear in the Labour Party that the legal cost of tackling anti-Semitism could bankrupt the organisation, with court action expected over a leaked internal report on the subject. Named officials in the document cite libel and breaches of data privacy.

A Labour frontbencher told the Telegraph: 'We're paying the price with money that could be used serving the public.

'The question now is how deep is the hole the Labour Party has been dug into by Corbyn and his acolytes.'

A second shadow cabinet minister said: 'This is the Corbyn legacy. People should be angry.'

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