An internal Labour inquiry launched by Keir Starmer will put senior party officials under the spotlight and probe whether a "racist, sexist and other discriminatory culture" exists in party workplaces.

The terms of reference of the inquiry, which is set to report by July, were drawn up at a meeting of the party's ruling National Executive Committee last week and released today.

The inquiry was launched by the party's incoming leadership after a leaked internal report appeared to show senior officials working to undermine the party's electoral chances out of factional hostility to Jeremy Corbyn.

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The terms of reference of the inquiry into the report will first of all examine "the truth or otherwise of the main allegations in the report".

The NEC said that that "the Panel shall determine which are the most significant allegations which require investigation but they shall include the extent of racist, sexist and other discriminatory culture within Labour Party workplaces, the attitudes and conduct of the senior staff of the Labour Party, and their relationships with the elected leadership of the Labour Party".

Emails and WhatsApp chat logs appear to show senior officials using abusive language about some colleagues and activists, as well as willing the party to lose.

Some Labour figures, including Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, have suggested allegations in the report that funds were channeled to support MPs from the Labour's right wing might represent a misuse of party funds.

The panel, which has not yet been chosen, will secondly be asked to look into "the background and circumstances on which the report was commissioned, written, and circulated within the Labour party" and the purpose for which it was commissioned and ultimately leaked.

The dossier was reportedly commissioned by party general secretary Jenny Formby to look at the party's handling of antisemitism complaints and claims that factional hostility in the party to the leadership undermined the workings of the organisation's bureaucracy.

The terms of reference also say that the "structure, culture and practices" of the Labour organisation "including the relationship between senior party staff and the elected leadership" of the party will be looked into "as the panel think appropriate having regard to their investigation as a whole".

A spokesperson for the Labour Party said: “The National Executive Committee agreed last week the terms of reference for the independent investigation into the circumstances, contents and release of an internal report. The NEC will meet again in due course to agree the individuals who will be appointed to lead the investigation.”

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