John Ware v Paddy French


Friday, 28 October 2022

IN DECEMBER 2019 I published the Press Gang pamphlet “Is The BBC Anti-Labour? Panorama’s Biased Anti-Semitism Reporting — A Case To Answer”. 

This was a detailed critique of the Panorama programme “Is Labour Anti-Semitic?” based on a “charge sheet” that found the broadcast had breached key BBC Editorial Guidelines. 

Six months later John Ware began defamation proceedings against the pamphlet.

At that point I believed the case was an opportunity for a forensic examination of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party while Jeremy Corbyn was leader. 

However, John Ware then withdrew his complaint against the “charge sheet” element and concentrated on an article included at the end of the pamphlet. 

And, in February 2021, Mr Justice Saini ruled that this article meant that John Ware was a rogue journalist who engaged in “dirty tricks” by presenting “a biased and knowingly false presentation of the extent and nature of anti-Semitism within the party, deliberately ignoring contrary evidence” in order to harm Labour’s electoral prospects.

This was not my intention — my concern was about the quality of the journalism. I argued that Ware had authored and presented an edition of Panorama that was one-sided and strongly advocated the position that Labour was anti-Semitic. This was, in my opinion, rogue journalism.

But as a result of the court’s ruling I was not permitted to defend the case on this basis and could not present evidence that the broadcast was one-sided. 

However, much of the material I had hoped to explore in court has now been published elsewhere. 

In April 2020 Labour’s internal report into the workings of the party’s Governance and Legal Unit (GLU) was leaked to Sky News.

This long report supported the thesis set out in the pamphlet.

Sir Keir Starmer, who replaced Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader, ordered an independent inquiry into the serious allegations made in the leaked GLU report.

Headed by Martin Forde KC, this report was published in July this year. 

Again, the Forde Report supported the general critique of the pamphlet.

Finally, the revelations of the Al Jazeera series “The Labour Files” in September this year provided further evidence that the Panorama programme was one-sided. 

These developments mean that Ware v French has become less and less relevant.  As a result, I have decided to withdraw from the case and will take no further part in the proceedings.

I will now concentrate on producing a full report into the Panorama programme.

This report will include new material that has yet to see the light of day. 

I want to thank all those — including my legal team at Bindmans and barristers Hugh Tomlinson, KC and Darryl Hutcheon — who have supported me in this case over the past two and a half years. 

Paddy French, Editor, Press Gang



The convention that journalists should not sue other journalists is even more pronounced in broadcasting. If there is a precedent for a journalist working for the BBC suing a journalist for criticising a programme he / she was involved in, I have yet to find it. The BBC have declined to say if permission was given to launch these proceedings.


The leaked GLU report can be accessed here: 


The Forde Report can be accessed here:


The Al Jazeera Investigations series, “The Labour Files,” can be accessed here:

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