Time to get rid of Austin and his hypocritical bullies. And sack McNicol

Last night, the outstanding Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon posted an innocuous tweet about an encounter with a couple of his constituents. It was the cue for one of the most nauseating displays of online bullying you’ll see.

And the bullies were ‘Labour’ MPs – though that needs to end immediately.


Burgon tweeted about an encounter with a schoolchild and her mother in a supermarket:


There’s nothing objectionable in the tweet. No insult to anyone. Just the observation that people feel distanced from the members of Parliament that represent them and that it’s something that needs to change. But it was enough to infuriate some – presumably because their constituents would never recognise them in public.

The first to react this morning was Ian Austin, genuinely one the most unpleasant, immature, arrogant and least likeable MPs in any party. He has a record of bullying and odious behaviour, including letting the Tories off the hook by heckling his party leader Jeremy Corbyn in the House of Commons.

His initial contribution showed an extremely thin skin and the kind of narcissism that means he thinks everything anyone says is about him:


He followed this with a string of arrogant self-justification that doesn’t need to be reproduced here. But he’s also a hypocrite as well as a bully, as his preceding tweets on a different topic put beyond doubt:


So criticism of Labour staff for not doing their job is out of order, but launching an unprovoked diatribe against a fellow Labour MP for a comment that had nothing to do with him – well, that’s ok, apparently.

Austin is beyond help – hours later, he was still at it:



Unfortunately, Austin is not the only destestable, hypocritical bully in the PLP (parliamentary Labour party). He has an array of rivals for the title of ‘most hateful’. Neil Coyle is a serious challenger – and he adds snideness to the mix, whereas Austin is just a thug:

coyle pies

Seacroft is in Richard Burgon’s constituency. Coyle made a weight joke about a colleague to thousands of people. Coyle is a trustee of a mental health charity. That will change very soon, hopefully.

Choose your own four-letter epithet and that will also apply – and that’s not likely to change.

Cumbrian MP John Woodcock, hardly svelte himself, was the next to try his hand:

woodcock burgon.png

Woodcock was as unrepentant as Austin when called out on his behaviour.

But unpleasantness in the right-wing PLP is not limited to men. 

greenwood burgon

Happily, there were no shortage of put-downs – of which this, in this author’s estimation, is the pick:

If only.

But that raises a very serious point. These people are not only unfit to serve as Labour MPs because of their lack of vision and their willingness to damage Labour’s electoral chances in order to protect their privilege and sense of self-importance. They’re awful human beings who have no place in the party, let alone on its Commons benches.

The SKWAWKBOX and without question the majority of Labour members want to see an end to it. If you or I bullied a work colleague, especially in public, we would be sacked – or at the very least, face serious disciplinary sanctions.

It should be – must be – no different in this case.

Burgon is only the latest victim of similar bullying attempts that have targeted front-benchers Angela Rayner, Diane Abbott, Cat Smith, Rebecca Long-Bailey and others – to such an extent that it looks like a strategy by the Blairites to try to undermine and discourage the best of Corbyn’s team.

Burgon is too classy to rise to their nonsense and the one response he did make to Austin was an exemplar of restraint. It’s unlikely he will report it, but this blog asks Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to deal with it. A ‘kinder politics’ is wonderful – but there’s no place for ‘doormat politics’ and examples need to be made.

Austin and co have put their heads on the block in their arrogance. The axe must fall – withdraw the whip, which will effectively expel them from the party and see whether they have the courage to ‘test their mandate’ as independents if they think they’re so electable, rather than their red rosette.

They should be expelled from the party completely, but the absolute silence on the part of Labour General Secretary Iain McNicol on the matter – in spite of many calls on him to condemn the bullying behaviour – show that he is too beholden to the right to act with any integrity. So removing him must also be a priority.

You could take ten each of Austin, Coyle, Woodcock, Greenwood and the MPs like them, bundle them together and put them in a Tesco trolley crammed full of your favourite drink – and they still wouldn’t be worth a tenth of a Richard Burgon, Angela Rayner or the others they’ve attacked.

Click and deselect – they won’t be missed.

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  1. I won’t fall in to their trap by writing what came into my head straight away, I truly believe in Karma. What wimps they really are, get them dishing it out on twitter, we should be thanking them for the wonderful pr job they’re doing for themselves.
    Lets say we do have a gen election pretty soon and these spineless gormless individuals loose their seats, they’ll be looking for a job one expects, Steve & Mike and plenty others will be only too delighted to write them references and circulate them on social media extolling their loyalty & comradeship how they treat their bosses and work colleagues for any employer that looks their way.

  2. Good grief what a shower of xxxx some of these so called PLP MP’s are , aren’t they supposed to be a role model to us ordinary folks eh !
    They are no more or less than pathetic little children who really really should not be allowed out to play , never mind being anywhere near a position of responsibility.
    What ,I wonder , is McNicol doing about this ?
    If any other party member behaved like this then expulsion would follow sure as night follows day .
    Best to see it for what it is , that is , the continued attack on Corbyns front bench to demoralise hound and destroy them.Who needs the Tories when our own MPS are at each others throats —– Unbelievable behaviour .
    Meanwhile the ground troops are out canvassing ( like me and many others ) trying to persuade the public to vote Labour in the Local elections .But with these fools making that job 10X harder ,especially in areas with very small majorities in Labours favour .These fools just can’t think beyond their own selfish little egos and bloated self importance .

    There really needs to be a massive protest / demo about this and the other antics at the Party Conf this Sept . If Mcnicol and Co will not fairly ,impartially and diligently prosecute the rules of this Party then , we the membership , who must be heard have to take direct action .
    We will not be stifled by the actions of various rotten to the core CLP’s whose activities are to frustrate a fair and just representation of the majority ( Left ) in the Labour Party . Those same members who want Corbyn and his policies and his front bench team of new fresh faces not the same old same old Old Guard, who lost us the last 2 elections .

  3. It should also be remembered that Ian Austin was part of the Progress Organisation group that made serious accusations about anti-semitism, misogyny and homophobia which brought the Labour Party into disrepute.

    This is of course the same Ian Austin who abstained on holding the misogynistic, homophobic, anti-semitic Saudi Regime to account during the Yemen motion, thus demonstrating that whilst accusing others of anti-semitism he himself was actively engaged in acting in the interests of an anti-semitic regime.

    His CLP would be well advised to censor Mr Austin by passing a motion insisting he makes a full and unreserved apology to Mr Burgen for his disgraceful and uncomradely attack upon the Shadow Justice Minister.

    It is worth noting that Progress, the NEC and Iain McNicol have deployed eerily similar smear and vote rigging tactics against the shadow cabinet of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition as the DNC and Debbie Wasserman Schultz deployed against Senator Sanders.

    Their tactics are virtually a carbon copy of the corporatist Democrats.

  4. Richard Burgon is a fine MP who is intelligent and talks to people in a way everyone can relate to. I don’t understand why Ian Austin described him as sanctimonious when he says something very similar to introduce himself in his Labour profile

    http://www.ianaustin.co.uk/profile [http://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/labourclp54/pages/24/attachments/original/1394226212/0315_-_IA_flag_gov_office_1010_367_cropp.jpg?1394226212]

    Profile – Ian Austin MP http://www.ianaustin.co.uk I was brought up in Dudley and have lived in the Borough most of my life. I went to St Edmunds, Russells Hall and the Dudley School, which is now called Castle High …


  5. I wouldn’t personally call it bullying, more like sarcasm. I’m sure Richard would see it that way, and if he doesn’t he’s more than capable of making an official complaint

    1. What do you think the uncommitted electorate, those whose votes Labour need to win the power without which they cannot have any influence, make of these tweets Lee?

      Do you think it increases their likelihood voting Labour?

      If not – why are these MPs doing it?

      1. I honestly don’t think they would think much of them, even Richard’s first comment about going to Tesco.

    2. Lee, I think you make the mistake in assuming that these MPs don’t know what they are doing, the clue of course is the target himself.

      Anyone that genuinely wants a Labour government elected understands the difference between Neo-Liberal New Labour dedicated to the private sector and privatisation and real Labour that defends our public assets and people.

      Richard Burgon doesn’t to my knowledge tweet inanities about fellow Labour politicians, but these ultra right wingers do, and that should be self evident in itself.

      We are at present witnessing the investigation of a senior politician in the Labour Party that has a record of defending minorities, of anti Semitism by right wingers that only yesterday had to admit that he did not say what they accused him of, not only that but these same accusers took him to court and lost that case as well.

      We really do have to ask ourselves, if they can challenge a senior left wing politician in the party, why do they always turn a blind eye when it comes to right wingers who say things about the leader of our party like the obnoxious Jess Philips did? saying “she wouldn’t stab him in the back but the front”. Why has there been no action taken against her, and yet known factual information about what Ken Livingstone said has been misconstrued and he has been suspended?

      Doesn’t this expose the intent by certain individuals who are abusing their positions of power, by allowing others who have really brought the party into disrepute getting away with it, and doesn’t that warrant remedial action to get those abusers of power out of their position.

      Wouldn’t it also make for better politics?

      1. Well said , you have encapsulated exactly ,only more eloquently , what I was trying to say and certainly feel is happening within the Labour Party.

      1. If you classify it as bullying it’s the same as people referring to Tom Watson’s weight bullying as well? Or both just tongue in cheek?

  6. The issue ,Lee , is public perception and I have to say that the results and comments made to me on the door step whilst canvassing is not good .
    There is invariably some passing remark made about the infighting , whilst the usual stuff on money and what’s in it for me is also made .
    So the underlying perception re Labour having its ” act together ” is negative thanks to our PLP . You must also bear in mind the really poor example these childish spats illustrate thus encouraging an environment of disrespect sarcasm and ultimately BTL bullying . The intent is to shut people up , as the perpetrators well know

  7. I agree with you they should be kicked out, that is all the undemocratic PLPs who will not back the democratically elected leader, because they have all took advantage of there general election surge,yet they keep on trying to get Jeremy removed. If that happens and a Blairite takes his place it will be the END of the labour party. I’ve always said once a backstabber always a backstabber, but the point is as long as they are in the party the party will be weak. I just wish they would try to start a new party, just to see how they would be humiliated

  8. Give them enough rope and they will hang themselves!
    The right in Labour have a death wish, the more they spout their rhetoric on the very party they hate, it would seem they should leave if they don’t like what it’s become, a “SOCIALIST PARTY FOR THE MANY AND NOT THE FEW”!
    Do the the right thing, “I DEPLORE YOU ALL, F/OFF NOW”!

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