Further links to the Labour Party’s General Secretary have been confirmed since Al Jazeera broadcast The Spying Game documentary.
EXCLUSIVE by STEVEN DOWNES
Further investigations since Al Jazeera broadcast their documentary “The Spying Game” have discovered that the person who handed stolen files to the Croydon Labour Party had in the past worked for David Evans, now the party’s General Secretary.
The Al Jazeera investigations unit’s final episode of their documentary series The Labour Files focused on the illegal and malicious hack attack against this website in February 2021, and how unlawfully obtained data was used by party officials to hound and harass Labour councillors and long-serving local officers.
Documents leaked to Al Jazeera included an email to Clive Fraser, the Town Hall Labour group’s chief whip, which had a 77.9MB attachment file of documents stolen from this website’s email account.
The author of that email was Ruth Bannister.
Sources have come forward with documentary evidence which shows Bannister’s association with Evans, and his business, The Campaign Company, that goes back at least 10 years.
When contacted by the producers of the Al Jazeera programme, Bannister declined to comment on her role in the illegal hack of this website.
Bannister is a prominent member of the Open Our Roads group in Upper Norwood which actively campaigned against the Labour council’s traffic policy in the area.
Bannister is understood to live on the Southwark side of the borough boundary in the Crystal Palace area.
Sources within Croydon North say that although Bannister does not live in the constituency, she had been included in a Constituency Labour Party WhatsApp group, apparently at the request of the MP, Steve Reed.
Reed, of course, is the shadow justice minister in Keith Starmer’s parliamentary Labour Party.
The correspondence trail linked to the hacked data shows that as well as Fraser, both Reed and David Evans received the stolen documents. None of the Labour officials, including a shadow justice minister and the party’s General Secretary, acted in what data protection officials consider to be the proper course of action, by handing over the stolen materials to the police and making a statement.
It is considered that by failing to hand over the stolen documents, those involved could have acted in contravention of the Computer Misuse Act 1990 and the Data Protection Act 2018.
Offences under the former Act can bring a 14-year jail sentence for those found guilty. An organisation found to have broken the Data Protection Act risks a maximum fine of £17.5million or 4per cent of annual turnover, whichever is greater, for infringements.
Bannister, who describes herself as “still slightly bonkers”, currently works in recruitment for Astra Zeneca on a contract. Her qualifications include a law degree.
The Al Jazeera programme-makers quote from Bannister’s emails to Croydon Labour officials: “If possible, I’d like to remain anonymous,” she wrote to “Newman’s nark”, Fraser.
“It has cost me no end of sleep recently,” Bannister says elsewhere in her email. “I’ve really struggled with what to do with all this information.”
And even she acknowledged the unlawfulness of her actions: “I’m unsure a crime has been committed bar a couple of potential data breaches…”. Yeah, just the couple…
Since the programme’s initial transmission, Inside Croydon has obtained proof that in 2012, Bannister worked at The Campaign Company, the consultancy established by Evans.
“She was never a permanent member of staff,” a source told Inside Croydon, “but she was part of TCC’s ‘field staff’, the people who essentially carried out surveys but were on temporary contracts.
“She got the job through David and a couple of others in the office when she was between other jobs,” they said.
Other notable former employees of Evans’s The Campaign Company include Morgan McSweeney, now on the Labour Party’s payroll as Starmer’s campaigns director.
Evans, of course, has strong connections to Croydon.
Evans established The Campaign Company in offices on George Street in the years after he helped Tony Blair to win General Elections in 1997 and 2001. He also helped the local Labour leadership, Tony Newman and Alison Butler, with their 2014 campaign to win control of Croydon Town Hall.
In the years following that election success, The Campaign Company was awarded contracts amounting to more than £200,000 from Croydon Council, something that was first reported by Inside Croydon.
The nexus of connections between the Croydon cabal who bankrupted the borough and the very top of the Labour leadership go back a long way. Evans and Alison Butler had in the past been lovers; they share a child.
One of Butler’s other children got work with Evans’s The Campaign Company when it somehow landed a consultancy contract with Brick by Brick, the council-owned housing company which Butler was responsible for setting up.
In other developments since the programmes aired, Luke Stanger, the bullying thug who was given a character reference by Steve Reed, has been sacked from his job at Gatwick Airport as a result of the allegations over his conduct in the documentary.
And additional evidence about the Labour Party’s lawless handling of stolen data has been lodged as a formal complaint with the ICO, the Information Commissioner’s Office.
Read more: #TheLabourFiles: MP Reed, Evans and the Croydon connection
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Read more: #TheLabourFiles: It’s long past time to clean-up the Party
Read more: #TheLabourFiles: MP Reed provided endorsement for Stanger