Exclusive: McDonnell office lodges complaint re Labour Irish ‘hijack’


On Wednesday night, the Labour Party Irish Society (LPIS) – an affiliated Labour society with the ability to delegate members to constituency Labour parties and influence decisions and candidate selections – held its AGM.

It was reportedly a disgrace – and a number of Labour MPs and officials have serious questions to answer about behaviour that, if multiply-sourced allegations are true, shows utter contempt for democracy and the party’s/society’s membership.

One LPIS member complained on his Facebook page:

[Progress members came out to] pick their mates from the queue to go through the staffers’ entrance and occupy all the seats in the room, leaving dozens of fully paid-up LPIS members outside the building or outside the rooms in which the AGM was being held.

While paid-up LPIS members were left outside, such denizens of the Irish community as Stephen Pound MP, Chuka Ummuna MP, Stella Creasy MP, Siobhan McDonagh MP and dozens of suited and booted lanyard-wearing SPADs sat comfortably inside.

At one point, Stephen Pound MP even came out and told people, inaccurately, that the AGM had been cancelled! Dozens of LPIS members, not believing that an MP of all people would peddle lies, headed home at this point. Even though RSVPs were in excess of 100, the room booked (capacity 70) was not enough. A second room was procured, but even so, dozens of members were left outside in the corridor and denied the opportunity to register for the AGM.

Even candidates from the left ‘slate’ were denied entry according to the full report.

Now it seems that Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell’s office has intervened in the stitch-up. A senior source from McDonnell’s office told the SKWAWKBOX that this message has been sent to the Left members of the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC):

I received this from Austin Harney of LPIS. It looks like AGM last night was hijacked. There will be a letter of complaint coming in. We need NEC members now calling upon McNicol to launch inquiry. Sooner rather than later.

Hi. Unfortunately, it did not go well. The room was overcrowded with Progress people, MPs, Lords, Baronesses and Labour officials. They were going to turn many of us away but had to open up a second room. Many Momentum members were not allowed in including some of our candidates.

Also, we had Stephen Pound at the entrance telling many Momentum members that the AGM was cancelled. I raised a point of order at the beginning of the AGM calling for it to be postponed because the room was not big enough. I was heckled but I held the floor. I had to go in the second meeting in the Thatcher Room and raise the point of order, there.

In both rooms, we were outvoted. Amongst the MPs were Siobhan McDonagh, Chuka Umunna, Vernon Coaker, Stella Creasy, Stephen Kinnock, Streeter etc. There were many with no Irish connections at all. Conor McGinn was seen remotely running around and getting his own cronies to come in.

This incident won’t go away. We intend to draft a letter of complaint to the NEC and call for the AGM to be declared null and void.

Conor McGinn, for his part, claims he was out of the country on the night of the AGM.

Harney was not the only one to complain. A Labour MP added a detailed account by a CLP vice-chair to the call for the anti-democratic proceedings to be annulled – which has also been sent to the Irish Post newspaper:

Are people aware of what happened at the AGM of the Labour Party Irish Society? This is appalling. Can we do anything? See account below. I was in PCH [Portcullis House] and am therefore aware of some of the shenanigans.

Letter to the Irish Post about the Labour Party Irish Society AGM 25/10/17

I am writing to you as i am appalled by the obviously corrupt events which took place last night at the Labour Party Irish Society AGM.

I am a fully paid up member of the LPIS, Labour Party and RSVP’d to the invitation to attend the AGM.

I joined the queue at approximately 5.45pm [the meeting was due to start at 6.30pm]

After standing in the queue for about half an hour, Steven Pound MP came out of the building and said the event had been cancelled – a large number of comrades left the queue at this point.

Luckily, I checked my messages and a comrade that was inside had sent me a text that there was an overflow room being made available – I challenged Mr Pound with this and he look quite startled – and went back inside – he later came out and said that the AGM had not been cancelled – He then proceeded to usher in people who had joined the queue after us into the meeting , he did this a number of times and i did attempt to ask what was going on and why were people behind me in the queue being ushered in , but he just ignored me .

Eventually we managed to get into the building and cleared security – we went upstairs to be told that the overflow room was now full and that we would not be let in – effectively, we had been locked out of the meeting with at least 20 other comrades.

What makes this even worse is that comrades inside the meeting were not having their credentials checked in any way to establish if they were Labour Party members, Labour Party Irish Society Members or had RSVP’d . No register was taken of participants in the meeting .

So who exactly was in the meeting?

Were they LPIS members?

Had they RSVP’d?

Were they even members of Labour?

It appears that no one knows.

So how can this travesty be allowed to stand as an AGM?

In my view it cant!

The LPIS AGM should be declared null and void.

A new AGM should be arranged where democratic process is followed.

In solidarity,

Patrick Hunter
Vice Chair Hendon CLP

The NEC must take action – and any MPs and Labour officials found to have participated in this affront to democracy must face the maximum available sanction.

*The article has been edited to reflect Conor McGinn’s claim that he was out of the country when events took place.

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  1. The ugly truth is this: there is a deep level of corruption within the Labour Party and its machinery and this corruption has actively been allowed to flourish under the stewardship of Iain McNicol.

    AGMs are being rigged, leadership contests have been rigged, hundreds of thousands of members have been either suspended, expelled or had their rights as members denied, and coordinated slanderous attacks based on false accusations have been made upon members.

    All of this corruption is being perpetrated by the centrist and right wing members, councillors and MPs within the Labour Party.

    The selection of candidates process is also rigged. The Progress Organisation and Cooperative Party have a combined membership of only 12,000 people. Yet the Cooperative Party has an entirely disproportionate number of MPs (38) as well as 700 councillors. Progress, the organisation which sabotaged this AGM, has only 2,000 members yet also has a grossly disproportionate influence on the selection of councillors and MPs in the Labour Party.

    The issue of LCFs (Local Campaign Forums) is the latest example of corruption within the party. These groups select councillor candidates and decide the party’s local council manifesto. The right wing of the party is currently trying to stuff these forums with placemen to effectively block the policies of the national manifesto being implemented locally, despite the national manifesto just delivering the highest increase of votes since 1945.

    It is time to instigate a thorough investigation into the corruption of the Labour Party by a small number of groups and individuals who do not have the party’s interests at heart, and who would prefer, as their leader Tony Blair openly admitted, to lose a General Election rather than win one on a left wing prospectus.

    These corrupters represent an existential threat to Labour as a credible party of government.

    Government is a matter of trust. Until the Labour party roots out this corruption within, it will not be fit to govern.

    1. Totally correct Internal Affairs. Just like to add that new members assume that the Labour Party is by default democratic to reflect its message to the public. Rude shock to many of them.

      Furthermore, ex-members are being prevented from joining, like me, without any explanation.

    2. This is very well put, and I hope something is done, and quickly, to get these right-wing traitors to the Labour Party expelled!
      Let them form their own party, if they really want to rule the roost – then we’ll soon see just how out-of-touch with the rest of our Labour Party they really are!

  2. Very well put, Internal Affairs, I have nothing to add to your comment. Thank you.

    1. Thanks, 4foxandhare.

      I will not rest until this corruption has been rooted out, until my fellow members are returned to the fold, until the party has over a million members and until a Labour Government is returned to begin implementing the four term programme contained within the party’s 2017 manifesto.

      1. I absolutely and completely agree.

        Even setting aside the torrent of procedural abuse perpetrated against the Left from the moment Jeremy became a real leadership contender (yes, we can see you, McNicol), and assuming Labour wins the next G.E., can you imagine what it’d be like trying to govern with the likes of those named above as part of what might well be a modest majority?

        If there’s any silver lining to this LPIS fiasco, it’s that those behind it have stepped so far over the line as to put their heads on the chopping block.

        Turn this around: add all the conspirators to a list of priority deselections and explusions, get rid of them in time for, or *before*, the next G.E.

        p.s. You had this spot on with your first post, SB. I hope those who questioned the tone of your coverage are now voluntarily eating their own words.

  3. Glad John McD is on the case I hope that the outcome will be just and swift. The AGM needs to be nullified and the democratisation of the party must continue . It just goes to show despite all the positive things that JC and his team/supporters have achieved there is still an hardcore of idiots that simply will not accept the change and are determined to continue their undermining of the party. Just and must deselect and rid the party of these quislings .

  4. This needs to be dealt with swiftly and to involve some serious punishments being handed out. Mr Pound at least needs to be expelled from the Labour Party (turning people by away by telling them falsely that the AGM has been cancelled is definitely an offence of sufficient seriousness to warrant that).

  5. “While paid-up LPIS members were left outside, such denizens of the Irish community as Stephen Pound MP…

    …After standing in the queue for about half an hour, Steven Pound MP came out of the building and said the event had been cancelled”

    He’s that ‘Irish’ , the next thing you know he’ll be claiming his name’s ‘Punt’…

    Why the p****’s even tolerated after the excruciating ‘big ben’ embarrassment is beyond me.

    (I’ll hang fire on umunna & kinnock because I’ll wrongly be accused of all sorts of racism, but needless to say they’ve about as much an Irish connection as Chairman Mao.)

  6. Serious questions need to be raised about the Neo-Liberal agenda within the party by these right wing MPs.

    Initially when Jeremy Corbyn was beginning to be accepted within the Labour Party, these right wingers were claiming that they believed he was unelectable. That of course was their cover story, it failed to impress the membership and as more and more people joined the cause, these politicians realised that the game was up and that the only way forward for them is to subvert the democratic processes and supporters.

    The corporate capture of politicians has been a long process in itself and goes back to the days of Callaghan. Naomi Klein’s book the “The Shock Doctrine” maps out how the corporate sector creates uncertainty and chaos into the whole social fabric of society, which is fertile ground
    on how career politicians become embroiled and ensnared into promoting Neo-Liberal dogma as though it were the gospel.

    Corruption lies at the heart of this process, well rewarded MPs become loyal advocates to the status quo, and we have seen this with the MPs allowances scandal under Blair’s administration…. just how MPs might have been rewarded for their loyalty. Whilst everyone else was being told how austerity was essential.

    Labour’s name has suffered a crisis of confidence in the minds of ordinary people, as economically incompetent, by these self same people, who allowed the Tory myth to exist that New Labour had overspent on public services, causing the financial crisis. Being content to allow that distortion of the truth to resonate, whilst the opposite was the case, the Tories historically on average have higher levels of public expenditure, and worse it is really an irrelevance which let the Bankers off the hook.

  7. Local domination by Progress was the reason I left Labour. That and the fact that I’m not a nationalist of any sort.
    Needs sorting.

  8. I’ll hang fire on umunna & kinnock hmm Blairites through and through they need to go

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