Labour leader Keir Starmer
Labour leader Keir StarmerReuters

The British Labour party is poised to make a formal apology to anti-Semitism whistleblowers as part of a settlement designed to draw a line under allegations made during the Jeremy Corbyn era, the Guardian reported on Wednesday.

The whistleblowers sued the party for defamation in the wake of a BBC Panorama investigation last year which revealed that members of Corbyn's inner circle had interfered with investigations into anti-Semitism in the party.

No final settlement has been reached but sources said an agreement was imminent, prompting anger from Corbyn allies who accused the current Labour leader, Keir Starmer, of capitulating.

Seven of the eight whistleblowers – all former Labour staffers – who featured in the documentary instructed the prominent media lawyer Mark Lewis to take action against the party.

They claimed senior figures had issued statements attacking their reputations and suggesting they had ulterior political and personal motives to undermine the party.

The Panorama program “Is Labour Anti-Semitic?”, which was screened in July last year, made a number of serious claims about the party’s internal culture for dealing with complaints of anti-Semitism.

In a statement when the program was broadcast, a Labour spokesman called them “disaffected former officials” and said they had “worked actively to undermine” Corbyn and had “both personal and political axes to grind”.

Both Corbyn and the Momentum founder, Jon Lansman, also suggested in statements following the program that it had a predetermined outcome.

It is understood a formal apology has been requested from the party, to be read in open court. Labour declined to comment.

Corbyn had faced ongoing accusations of anti-Semitism while serving as Labour leader, both over his history of hostility towards Israel and support for anti-Israel terrorist groups, as well as the rise in anti-Jewish rhetoric within the party.

Dozens of Labour members have been suspended over their anti-Semitic statements in recent years, while the party has been criticized for its failure to deal with the anti-Semitism within it.

In the British parliamentary election this past December, Labour recorded its worst performance, in terms of seats, since 1935.

British Labour MPs who lost their seats in the general election later cited Labour's "unwillingness" to stand up to anti-Semitism as one of the issues that led to the party’s loss in the election.