Excl: #Labour HQ defunded marginals. Corbyn achieved this DESPITE them #GE17

Now that polling stations have closed, the SKWAWKBOX can reveal that Labour’s HQ, in complete contrast to the aggressive, energetic campaign of the party’s leader, mandated a purely defensive strategy for this election – and cost Labour the keys to 10 Downing Street.

The Blairites at headquarters – national and in many regions – presumably either not believing Labour could win seats from the Tories, or in some cases even hoping for a poor result, decided to circle the wagons around existing seats, particularly favouring those occupied by so-called ‘centrists’.

This meant that – at the instigation of senior HQ figures and right-wing NEC members – almost no resources were made available for the fight to win Tory-held marginals or even to defend Labour-held ones. Seats with a majority of below 3,000.



In and around Merseyside were two extremely marginal constituencies. One, Wirral West, had an excellent Labour MP facing the double challenge of the UKIP candidate stepping down to give the Tory challenger a clear run and a self-funded Green candidate likely to divert some otherwise-Labour votes.

The other, Weaver Vale, was held by a poor Tory MP with a strong Labour challenger.

Labour’s north-west region ‘whipped’ all Labour’s city councillors in nearby Liverpool – against the protests of some – to help – not in either marginal seat but in the safe seat of Progress director Alison McGovern.


Alison McGovern


Up in Bolton West, the Tories won the seat in 2015 by 801 votes. Labour’s Julie Hilling had an excellent chance of ousting Tory Chris Green. Ms Hilling received so little support that she had no funding even for Labour garden stakes. She did not even receive a campaign manager from Labour central – her campaign had to be run by volunteers with no experience. Ms Hilling fought a brave campaign but, on a night where Labour was making even astonishing gains like Canterbury, she lost by the narrow margin of 936 votes.

Meanwhile, down in the East Midlands, ex-MP Chris Williamson looked to win back a seat he lost in 2015 by a mere 41 votes. He received no support from HQ.

Fortunately for Williamson – and for Labour – he had a source feeding him information about the support his Derby South Blairite neighbour, Margaret Beckett was receiving. This allowed him to twist the arm of HQ contacts to get increased support. With this and assistance from Momentum and other volunteers, Williamson was able to win by 2,015 votes – a far bigger majority than he won by in 2010.

The triumph and the missed opportunity

Thanks to Corbyn’s tireless campaign, the inspiration he created among voters and the efforts of volunteer activists and Momentum, Labour were able to confound critics and naysayers to increase the number of Labour MPs by 30 seats and is now by far the strongest figure in Parliament.

But because of the lack of vision and spine – and because of a possible desire to see Labour do badly in order to facilitate Corbyn’s removal – Labour HQ caused an enormous missed opportunity.

If Labour HQ had not chosen to protect right-wing candidates in preference to pro-Corbyn candidates, Labour could have swept the board in marginals on Thursday, at least in England and Wales.

Together with the ridiculous behaviour of Blairite Kezia Dugdale in Scotland, who told voters to support the Tories to weaken the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon (a breach of Labour rules that should see her automatically expelled for at least five years), this decision was responsible for the fact that Jeremy Corbyn is not in 10 Downing Street today, starting to rescue the country from the damage the Tories have inflicted on it.

Corbyn’s personal drive and authenticity, the efforts of his official team, Labour’s incredible policies and of an army of volunteers were able to offset some of the disadvantage the ridiculous, craven funding decision caused.

But not quite enough – a mere 2,000 or so votes more across other marginals and Labour would be in government.

And this was all while Labour was in its healthiest financial position for years.

Labour’s 40% share on Thursday – its best since 2001 – is a triumph for Corbyn, his team and his supporters.

But if the whole Labour machine had gone on the offensive, Labour would be in government this morning.

For that decision, for that missed opportunity, for prolonging the suffering of the country and allowing Theresa May to cling to office with the support of the paramilitary-linked DUP, General Secretary Ian McNicol bears the responsibility.

McNicol has consistently worked against Corbyn’s vision for the party – and he is now responsible for it not yet being implemented in government.

If he does not ‘fall on his sword’ without delay, he must be removed. His craven unwillingness to get behind the democratically-elected leader’s vision permits no other result.

Certain figures within Labour were actively hoping – and even working – for a Labour disaster on Thursday. Even though their idea of what is electable has clearly been completely disgraced, some are still agitating and claiming Labour could have done better with some uninspiring centrist drone as leader.

That has to stop nowwhatever steps are needed. And the first step is McNicol’s removal, for helping or failing to stop the saboteurs.

McNicol has no further place in the Labour Party. He must go.

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  1. Hi have you any public information sources for :-
    1) The claim that Labour HQ defunded marginals to prop up right wing MPs.
    2) That Dugdale asked voters to vote Labour.
    That you could share.
    Iain Crawford

  2. i wanted to see corbyn in the Manchester area labour HQ would not help nor momentum

    1. Looks like Momentum were working flat out elsewhere, the person to complain to is Iain McNicol, if he won’t go Jeremy who now has a lot of clout must get him removed!

  3. Good job they have quit but surely if JC had known this before hand something could have been done about it, or even been able to rally troops to help out in those seats.

  4. Not forgetting that by setting up a selection process for candidates with no member input small 3 person panels of the NEC imposed anti-Corbyn candidates across the country. My constituency the candidate made zero references to Corbyn in his campaign, had no pictures of him on leaflets, never mentioned him in any of his communications and I hear some ‘right wing’ Labour canvassers were telling voters a vote for the candidate was not a pro Corbyn vote. The whole campaign was run locally as if Jeremy didn’t exist. The seat was a 2300 Tory majority we lost it by 31 votes!

    There will be another GE soon this Govt won’t last long. Next time we need solid Pro-Jeremy candidates in all seats. Let the members choose and the NEC should start the process very soon not wait until the last minute and then impose an undemocratic fait accompli.

  5. I have asked that the leadership remove thee cretins before they can do any more damage to the party. We don’t want or need any more snakes in the party. Then the PLP needs to apologise to the thousands of innocent members who were suspended for nothing. McNichol has to go and Jeremy has to sack him if needs be. People like Mandleson should be expelled immediately. Alistair Campel and a few more have to either back the leadership or go. Jeremy has to toughen up a little on this issue. Then people can return to the party. A rule change to prevent this type of power abuse in the future has to be brought in. The treachery in the party by some sitting MPs needs to be addressed. You can have your differences within but a sitting MP should never run around badmouthing the leadership. say your piece behind closed doors and accept the outcome. The members democratic choice should adhered to at all times.

  6. Galling and sickening that labour HQ can do this but not surprising. Trying to look on the bright side – the Tories will never again be able to run the same smear campaign against JC. Jumping into bed with the DUP they will NEVER again be trusted on anything.
    Let the Tories for now reap what they have sown – brexit -a crashing economy etc and we will be waiting with JC to pick up the pieces and repair our country.

    1. I wouldn’t say ‘never’; people have shockingly short memories. In addition, some hardcore Tory supporters don’t seem to have enough self-awareness or critical thinking skills to refrain from cutting off their own legs after stubbing their toes.

      1. Totally agree – I have spoken to intelligent “Hardcore Tory Supporters” who are really aware of what their Tory government is doing, why it is wrong and angry about it – despite this they will still vote for a conservative candidate on the grounds that any other party in government would be worse. On this one subject they really do seem to be able hold mutually exclusive beliefs at same time without experiencing any cognitive dissonance.

    2. I know and isn’t it galling that Tories lining up to defend May for jumping into bed with these homophobic misogynistic bigots showing no shame and appear to have no sense of irony at all! Jeremy spoke to Sinn Fein to help the first tentative steps towards the peace process, all May is thinking of is her own job and power. It’s utterly bizarre! And the Tories in their rush to stay in power are allowing her to further damage their party. They are literally all over the place!

  7. Note Chris Leslie’s negative comments on Today. He now calls May’s Tories the most vulnerable PM ever and the election an “open goal” and castigates Jeremy for not winning. The hypocrisy of this man is beyond belief.

  8. I agree. Shocking that this is being tolerated. Who can sack him?

  9. I know someone who campaigned in Derby who suggests this is bit of mischief making. Maybe wanting to keep it under wraps though.

  10. These Blarite dinosaus should go NOW. They are a disgrace to the Labour Party and its movement.. I have a message to Labour HQ personel. Especially the secretary. Have the balls to do the right thing and resign RIGHT NOW

  11. Isn’t the Blairite majority on the NEC wafer thin? Is there a possibility it could go this year?

  12. This is not the time to start infighting again. So much is at stake for the country. If this gets a lot of press coverage Labour would lose all credibility and the Tories would remain in power. The time will come to sort this out.

    1. It’s exactly the time. Labour needs to clean house before the next – probably imminent – election, once it’s called it will be too late. If this gets mainstream coverage, it strengthens Corbyn even more for his even greater achievement – and weakens the right-wingers by exposing their sabotage.

  13. Most of Vauxhall CLP were absent during Hoey’s electioneering. Suspicions are that some were actively assisting the LibDems in their attempt to oust Hoey.

    Many RW Progress/Coop-Party Labour members in Vauxhall have been trying to get Hoey deselected for years, she’s a thorn in Lambeth Council’s side, supporting residents rather than cosying up to property developers etc.

    It’s quite appalling that the vile campaign of misinformation run by the LibDems, may well have been supported by some RW Labour officials.

  14. To be fair. At the start of the campaign, that is the way it looked to the NEC: That the polls lying and saying Labour was behind put everyone on the defensive. However, many of the local Momentum and Labour members got out and canvassed. That made a huge difference. In my constituency we had hundreds of door knockers and we overturned a Tory majority of 5000 into a Labour majority of 4000.

    1. Then they lacked the vision and the connectedness to ordinary members and the electorate to see what they rest of us knew.

      1. That’s one way to do it but Jeremy’s opponents have treated every other challange to their dominance as a fight to the death so even if McNicol was deposed as you suggest I’d expect them to fight for him to be replaced by yet another cuckoo’s egg.

        A complementary strategy might be to ramp up WikiLeak’s offer of a reward for information relating to misconduct during the leadership challenge (https://wikileaks.org/WikiLeaks-offers-award-for-LabourLeaks.html)

        If you were to contact them and get them to open up the reward to crowdfunding, I’d put £1000 in without hesitation and I think a lot of Jeremy’s supporters could be persuaded to chip in if they understood the kind of impact the campaign could have on how the party is run.

        My own view is that, during the leadership challenge, there was more than enough misconduct by the ‘usual suspects’ to bury them many times over. That’s not to say that someone would definitely come forward with actionable information but I think it’s worth a try and might put enough pressure on those concerned that they start to make obvious mistakes or even fold completely.

      2. With the substantial change in mood of the right and the massive support for Jeremy in the Ballot Box we could take him out now but would it be prudent to give MSM an alternative narrative to rescue May. Keep your powder dry until we can see the whites of their eyes.

    1. I looked at the rules on this and I think the relevant rule is here:

      Chapter 4 Clause II
      4. Election of General Secretary
      A. The General Secretary shall be elected by Party conference on the recommendation of the NEC and shall be an ex-officio member of Party conference. S/he shall devote her or his whole time to the work of the Party and shall not be eligible to act as a parliamentary candidate. S/he shall remain in office so long as her/ his work gives satisfaction to the NEC and Party conference. Should a vacancy in the office occur, for whatever reason, between Party conferences, the NEC shall have full power to fill the vacancy subject to the approval of Party conference.

      The key part is that “S/he shall remain in office so long as her/ his work gives satisfaction to the NEC and Party conference.” My reading of this is that the GS needs both the NEC and Party Conference support to stay in office. If one of these bodies withdraws support then the GS can not stay in Office. If Conference passed a motion along the lines “that the work of the GS no longer gives satisfaction to this conference” then under the rules I believe the GS could not stay in office.

      Obviously getting such a motion to conference 2017 is probably next to impossible. It would need CLPs to put forward a motion before the deadline of 7th July. Then CAC would vet the motions and I suspect veto them. However if a large number of CLPs put in such a motion, say 50 to a 100, it might be far harder for CAC to refuse to accept a composite motion of them as there were so many. However as CAC is not exactly dominated by the left and would likely bend/break rules to save McNicol from such a fate I would be doubtful a motion like this could get to conference. In theory the full NEC can overturn a CAC decision but if the NEC were willing to do that they could just sack the GS themselves so that seems unlikely to happen.

      I have tried to get hold of the Conference standing orders to see if there is any way of getting an emergency floor motion or such in order to circumvent the CAC but my requests to CAC for a copy of the SO have all been ignored. I find that when I try to get hold of rules or SO from places like CAC or Regional Directors they don’t supply them. I have pointed out this is in fact a breach of contract law and referenced the relevant case law but it has not worked so far. I could sue but it is a lot of hassle to sue just to get hold of a copy of some rules or SO.

      Perhaps if someone else knows how to get a motion to conference in a way that won’t be blocked by the CAC it might be feasible. Alternatively if lots of motions like this came into CAC it might at least send a strong signal that McNicol should go as the vast majority of the membership have zero confidence in him.

      1. I forgot to say even if by some miracle you got a motion to conference it still needs to pass. If the unions didn’t back it then it would probably not pass. I would be unsure the GMB would be willing to kick out one of their own.

      2. Somewhere in Chapter 15 Model Procedural Rules also known as Standing Orders which apply to all “Party Units” there must be something we can find

  15. Have contacted my MP (Gill Furniss, Sheffield Brightside) to see if I can find out more about this. If true it’s outrageous and we should ensure something is done about it.

  16. In a political struggle, you are never able to identify possible sabotage as a party and as as people we should plug these leaks without rancour. Corbyn has taught me to approach problems positively. In the process saboteurs must be politely given the opportunity fall on their sword.


    1. The time to act is not quite upon us. With an impending further election we should bide our time and be patient. Depending on outcome of queen’s speech vote and amendments and Labours alternative speech being voted through Parliament. When Jeremy has keys to No 10 we can hold enquiry and dispose of the detritus

    If this was a conventional war and the General did not send weapons to win the war he would be Court Martialed and if found guilty he would be executed on the field of battle.

  19. I dont fully understand the conclusions about McNicol…the secretary is important but they help deliver democratically made decisions, they dont act unilaterally

      1. The weak link would be the Regional Directors and the staff at Region. They do the final allocation and direction of resources.
        One way of putting pressure on is to demand a REFUND of all our DONATIONS that we made during the campaign.
        This would be on the understanding that if just one case of sabotage could be proven then SOMEONE should carry the can for misdirection of funding that was given in good faith on the basis that it would be directed to marginal seats. At least that was what I thought I was donating for.
        I feel I have been DUPed twice now

  20. Was Mansfield one they chose not to fund? Labour candidate was invisible and no counter to UKIP campaigning in town centre etc and now a Tory seat.

  21. We need sources though our this will and it’s getting thrown back in our faces as unsubstantiated rubbish.
    So come on skwawkbox, give us something we can use.

  22. These buffoons missed an open goal it seems. Note how they’re falling all over themselves to praise Jeremy now!

    1. To call them buffoons is to miss the point that this was a concious and deliberate tactic to undermine, we the members and in particular yet again, Jeremy and his team. In the last week of the election and under cover of commenting on the atrocious murders in Manchester and London videos of alleged Statesman like speeches by several leading figures had all the hallmarks of another attempted coup thinking that OUR campaign would flounder on the rocks. This smells yet again of a nationwide network of conspiracy with some in Scottish Labour telling voters to vote Tory to oust the SNP. This I find sickening that these ambitious individuals put self before Party in seeking to exploit such tragedies and in the process denying the People of the UK the right to have a Labour Government

  23. I have heard this story independently for some constituencies in Eastern region. In exactly the same way, everything poured into the Progress MP’s constituency and a winnable marginal crying out for help.

  24. This isn’t entirely true. Both John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn visited Lincoln, a Tory marginal with a majority of 1400 , and which Labour has now won

  25. I happen to know of a marginal that got £10k from Central Office. What it didn’t get was a listing on Momentum’s “marginal seats to go and help” list.

  26. Like thousands of other Corbyn loyalists, I avoided contributing to an internal battle which would certainly have been exploited by right-wing media to undermine Labour during the election campaign. But we must now sort this out before the next election campaign comes along. There must be a rapid and thorough cleaning out at Labour party HQ to remove all those who basically betrayed the membership in the run up to the second leadership election.

  27. I don’t know about other areas but where I am Regional office/HQ and local party leadership (not pro Corbyn) pushed all resources into defending a safer seat which ended up with an 11,500 majority and left the neighboring tory marginal under supported. NEC had already imposed a non Corbyn supporting candidate whose campaign pretended Corbyn didn’t exist. Seat was lost by 31 votes. The campaign was extremely badly run which contributed to losing but if it had been fully resourced we might have been able to get it. So from where I sit this story seems to have some truth to it.

  28. As a labour member I agree that now is the time for all to either unite behind our leader or leave the party. The blairite rule is over and we must look to the future with hope for change. Only a socialist leaning Labour Party can provide real opposition to the financialist excesses of so called mainstream politics.

  29. I was absolutely livid to find out Southampton Itchen had been given no resources, while effort was poured into defending neighbouring Southampton Test in which Alan Whitehead (one of those whose calculated resignation from the shadow cabinet caused such lasting damage) – and he won by over 10,000, while we lost by a mere 31 votes after working our socks off. What a missed opportunity. The people in the central and regional parties who seemed to be doing their best to throw this election should be ashamed – and ejected.

  30. Reblogged this on Socialist Fight and commented:
    When Jeremy Corbyn was elected for the first time in 2015 all serious leftists understood that the Prime task was to democratise the Labour party structures, particularly the National Executive Committee and aboilsh the Compliance Unit and deselect the right wing Labour MPs. Forces so hostile to socialism and to Corbyn himself that they were incompatible with a struggle for socialism.

    But forces claiming to be left obstructed that struggle. The prime obstacle was John Lansman’s Momentum. As this post demonstrated that task is still in front of us and little has been achieved in driving back this reactionary bureaucracy.

  31. In Gloucester the day before the election we had to travel up to Stroud to get some of their vote Labour posters as we had run out and were not supplied enough.
    Among other things, interestingly though, we apparently won the seat on the day only to be outvoted by the postal votes. Food for thought.

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