NEWS

Who Leaked Labour's Draft Election Manifesto?

Here are the three groups in the frame.

11/05/2017 15:09 | Updated 11 May 2017
Anthony Devlin via Getty Images
The hunt is on to discover who leaked the manifesto penned under Corbyn's leadership 

Speculation is mounting in Westminster over who leaked Labour’s draft election manifesto

A host of sources from different factions of the party have been suggested as the culprits, while journalists scramble to uncover how the top secret document was released a day before its contents were due to be confirmed at a meeting of Labour big wigs.

HuffPost UK looks at the claims levelled at three groups in Labour and what’s been said about their involvement in the leak:

1. The leadership

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Jeremy Corbyn's team were suggested to be in the frame

Laura Kuenssberg, the BBC’s Political Editor, stoked speculation this morning with a tweet saying the Labour leader’s office was not conducting a “witch hunt” in its search for the leaker. 

She added that a source told her the leadership were “’pleased’ it’s out there”.

She later clarified that Corbyn’s team had been referring to the reaction to their policies, rather than the leak itself. 

While her colleague Norman Smith added Corbyn’s team said there would be “no recriminations” over the leaking.

Corbyn’s policy chief Andrew Fisher was also claimed by PoliticsHome to have “left a copy of the draft document lying around on his desk in Labour’s open plan office yesterday”. 

While the New Statesman asked if the leadership stood anything to gain from a leak: “Just because they’re out to get you, doesn’t mean that you didn’t on this occasion leak it to secure a bigger splash than it would otherwise have got.”

But sources close to Corbyn say “100%” that they were not behind the leak “and were shocked around 8pm last night to hear it had leaked”, the BBC reported.

2. Labour HQ

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Party staff at Labour HQ were blamed by Corbyn's ex-spokesman

Former Corbyn spokesman Matt Zarb-Cousin fired off a series of tweets just ten minutes after the Mirror and Telegraph published full details of the manifesto, saying he had heard “the whole manifesto has been leaked by Labour HQ”. 

He also accused the party’s central office in Southside of “continu[ing] their tradition of undermining the leadership”. 

While there is a rift between the leadership and the party HQ, several central office sources denied having leaked the document - or even having seen it.

Ian Austin, who is standing for re-election as MP for Dudley, also hit back at the attacks on party staff. 

3. Shadow cabinet

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All shadow cabinet members were quizzed on the leak

Some speculated that a shadow cabinet member could have been the hole in Labour’s tightly-maintained circle of secrecy. 

ITV’s Jamie Robertson said every shadow minister was quizzed at they arrived at a meeting in London on their knowledge of the leak. 

But Dave Anderson, Labour’s Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary appeared incensed about the leak when he spoke to journalists before entering the meeting. 

The Sun’s Harry Cole reported: 

It is also understood that such was the level of secrecy surrounding the manifesto that shadow cabinet members were only given the sections relevant to their brief in advance of it being compiled for today’s meeting. 

 

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