On Tuesday Patrick Heneghan, the Labour Party’s ‘Executive Director of Elections, Organisations and Campaigns’, quit his post after a 19-year tenure. The Huffington Post (HP) considered this a sign of Jeremy Corbyn ‘tightening control’ on Labour’s HQ structures, with a likely ‘leftwinger’ replacement to be installed:
Heneghan had been criticised for the overly-defensive stance of Labour’s official campaign, in sharp contrast to the energetic and positive campaign of members and organisations like Momentum. His defenders, according to the HP,
reject criticism of his role and work, pointing out that the party was active across the country in both seats it feared could fall and in Tory targets.
However, members and candidates in numerous locations have complained to the SKWAWKBOX of the lack of support and engagement by national and regional offices, while victories in marginals such as Weaver Vale and Wirral West have been ascribed to the efforts of members from those and other constituencies – who often ignored instructions to campaign in seats occupied by right-wing Labour MPs in order to focus their efforts on seats they regarded as winnable or defensible. Heneghan, said to be a close ally of General Secretary Iain McNicol, will be no loss to left-wing members who campaigned in marginal seats largely de-resourced by functionaries.
But – contrary to the HP’s expectations – it seems his whole role is also not considered much of a loss. A senior Labour source told the SKWAWKBOX that LOTO (the opposition leader’s office) sees no rush to appoint a replacement and probably will not do so at all.
Labour’s HQ delivered a self-exonerating General Election report to the party’s NEC (National Executive Committee), but the widely-recognised truth is that it was the dynamic campaign of Jeremy Corbyn and front-benchers, together with the efforts and enthusiasm of energised party and Momentum members on the streets and online, that caused Labour’s surge.
With such grassroots effectiveness to call on, it appears the leadership doesn’t see the need for an ‘Executive Director of Elections, Organisations and Campaigns’.
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