Excl: “Hell breaks loose” as Blairites try to ‘hijack’ Labour National Policy Forum

The LabourList website is carrying a story this morning that an unscheduled election at Labour’s National Policy Forum was cancelled because of ‘insufficient notice’.

The meeting was staged to elect a new NPF chair after Ann Cryer announced she was stepping down and right-wingers have – of course – blamed Momentum for the cancellation, claiming “Momentum only likes party democracy that goes its way“. Momentum-backed NEC officers were not involved in the decision to cancel the meeting.

However, the reality is somewhat different.

A senior Labour source told the SKWAWKBOX:

Blairites tried to hijack the NPF and stage an illegal vote to impose Ann Black as chair. All hell broke loose and some right-wingers are alleging physical bullying, but that’s a straightforward lie.

The vote will take place – but it will be conducted by postal ballot over a period of four weeks to give every NPF member the chance to participate instead of it being done at a short-notice meeting with controlled attendees.

A formal complaint has been lodged against [a female north-west MP] for abusive behaviour toward the chair.

For NPF elections to be valid, seven days notice is required according to party rules.

NPF officers have no authority to call an election or to overrule the NEC.

LABOURlist’s new editor originally tweeted that:

sienna npf.png

However, she subsequently deleted that tweet and ‘clarified’:

sienna npf 2.png

Eyewitnesses have vehemently denied to the SKWAWKBOX that anything like this took place, but that Kerr himself was the target for abuse.

The attempt by right-wingers to crowbar Ms Black into the chair’s position will not help her chances of attracting support from the left for her intended bid to stand as an independent after she failed to win reselection for the left slate in the forthcoming NEC elections.

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  1. Those, on the right, will try, by hook or by crook, to get their people in positions of power and when they lose, shout “foul”, then go on to lying about what happened in their minds! They hate the rules, that dictate what should be done “democratically”! Making more enemies on the way!

    1. Hardly surprising they use the same methods as the lying, do-anything-to-discredit-the-left Tories though, is it?
      Like Blair they’re Tories in everything but name.

  2. If George McManus is a ‘blairite’, then Squarkbox is a Russian plant.

  3. If the gutter press weren’t printing lies about us and the anti democratic right berserkers weren’t behaving in such a desperate manner, we would know we were doing something wrong.

  4. Was just automatically(?) logged out while writing a comment on a post in Labour’s online policy forum so the comment was lost.
    I know it’s in beta but ffs.
    Nothing more irritating – except maybe seeing McNicol’s name at the bottom of Labour’s emails.

  5. All Labour Party members need to be aware that a core tactic of the right wing of the party is to intentionally engineer angry responses from those on the left of the party.

    Remember to remain calm, thoughtful and polite at all times when dealing with these traitors.

    This behaviour causes the right wing to become angry and disorientated.

    1. Excellent point , and very well illustrated by the antics of Creasy recently and other right winger Blairites in their pathetic childish behaviour, totally unbecoming to hold the office as a Labour MP . To think that these childish imbeciles could actually be Minister for Defence for example with the ” finger on THE button “. Grief ,, it sends shivers down yah spine .

    2. What if the right also resolve to be calm, thoughtful and polite at all times when dealing with, what they call, “hard left extremist Corbynites”?

      Do we then up our game in calmness, thoughtfulness and politeness until we achieve our core tactic of angering and disorientating them?

  6. #NPF18 today : For elections to be valid, 7 days notice is required as per party rules.
    This is why the NEC ruled out an election at its 1st opportunity. NPF officers can’t call an election as it would have breached rules : NPF is constitutionally unable to overrule the NEC”

    You can’t hijack a vote and break party rules…. simples.

  7. I read the report of this on HuffPo, whose headline claims that “Corbyn Supporters Shelve Election Of National Policy Forum Chair”. As I was reading it, I thought that the facts appeared to boil down to the election being invalid according to the party’s own rules, and that the NEC therefore stopped it and is running a valid election instead.

    Not knowing the personalities involved, I still guessed that it was the right of the party trying to bounce a result by staging an unlawful election. Seems I was right.

    A fair-minded person would at worst struggle to see a story in that, and at best see it as another example of the right of the party having a problem with being democratically outvoted when they stand in fair elections according to the party’s actual rules.

  8. We had a lot of trouble with the “LABOURlist’s new editor” when she was on the Camden Labour executive committee. She presented herself as a pro-Corbyn candidate but once she got on the EC, she continually voted against anything that would have opened up the branch to be more democratic.

    I don’t have a problem with those with different political views but I do have a problem with dishonesty. It doesn’t surprise me that she’s happy to push a completely unsubstantiated allegation against an opponent. If I told her that Tony Blair was a war criminal, would she tweet “I’ve been told Tony Blair is a war criminal …. but other sources say it is not true”?

  9. There is only one way to deter the false claims made by the ‘moderates’ and that is for everyone on the left to covertly record any meetings or whatever with them (and save the recordings just in case they make their concocted claims at a later date). If, for example, a bunch of people had covertly recorded the Wallasey CLP meeting then it would have proved that those making the claims were lying. And all of them would hopefully have then been expelled from the Labour Party.

    1. And as Internal Affairs implies above, it will often be the case that Tories in the LP will deliberately try to provoke those on the left of the party, so they should always be prepared and keep their emotions in check as such. And if they have a recording device in their pocket THAT should be easy.

  10. I just checked out the Daily Mail to see if they’d covered it, and they had of course, albeit a totally distorted version of events. The article – if one can call it that – was published last night at 23:07, and updated at 08:44 this morning (just shortly before I read it), and already it had 579 comments (their shills HAVE been busy!) and they have of course as per usual been manipulating the Best Rated comments figures to fit with their agenda.

    The ludicrous thing is that their main angle is that Katrina Murray was shoved out of the way by Andy Kerr AND provide a video which DOESN’T show any such thing happening. And then there’s the faux outrage of the tweeters! How very predictable. No doubt the Sun and the Express have presented it in much the same way:


  11. What I can’t understand though is why – if the meeting was convened especially to have this vote (which it must have been) – the NEC guy let it go ahead in the first place. Or is it somehow possible that he didn’t know what was taking place until he got there. I mean either that IS the case – which seems incredible – or the whole thing was a stitch-up by him (the Blairite faction in the NEC that is) and the Blairites attending. Wouldn’t surprise me one little bit.

    On which note it occured to me late last night: Where was security at the Rees-Mogg kerfuffle the other week. I don’t recall seeing them in any of the several videos I looked at (not that I thought about it at the time). Was THAT all staged as well (and security told to go and have a cup of tea)! And the guy in the white shirt playing a key roll in transforming the situation into a ‘fight’. Hmm………

    1. The meeting was the normal meeting of the NPF, convened to discuss policy, a long term arrangement. The resignation of the chair happened quite literally at the last minute.

      1. Betty Bus , not sure what point you are trying to make here , you say that you as a delegate never received notice of an election , but that is the whole issue around what has happened .It is a clear case of certain individuals ( be they right or left of the party ) trying to subvert/corrupt the democratic process.To me they should be subject to the proper fair complaints process and then expelled if found to have been deliberately gerrymandering the vote.
        It is not “trying to stir up trouble ” to report and point out alleged breaches of the Labour Party rules , it is vital I would say , for the rebuilding of trust in the Partys governing bodies and committees, so badly damaged by the mass suspensions and expulsions of members for far less serious cases than this gerrymandering by officials.
        Thankfully we now have a far more democratised and balanced NEC which I hope will fairly and transparently apply the rules to all.

      2. I’m not trying to make any points I originally responded to a comment suggesting the meeting was convened especially for the election, which it was not. I pointed out a rough time table for the non-election. In my world a resignation reported to a body with 3 working-days notice of a meeting is last minute. Sqwark disagreed but perhaps because he is trying to argue an election shouldn’t have taken place. As I said, I have no agenda. I was merely putting forward the information as provided to me as a NPF delegate. There is actually very little information out there from witnesses to the events as they unfolded.

      3. If last-minute means 3 days, we agree. But the rules require 7 days notice for anything but emergencies – a resigned chair wouldn’t qualify

      4. For what it’s worth, in the ensuing chaos of balloting and chair challenging, I was on the side of not electing a chair at that time. The rules are clear on the matter of 7 days.

      5. ok Betty , thanks for the info just trying to get a clear picture of whats gone on between the lies/bull of some of the disinfo put out by various individuals involved

      6. I have no idea where this post is going to end up in the sequence of comments, but I’m hoping it will appear directly after the lengthy post I just addressed to Betty a bit earlier.

        Anyway, if we assme that the email sent out to delegates late on the Tuesday DIDN’T say anything about a ballot to elect a new chair – which is contrary to what Steve/skwawkbox was told in the past two or three days – then there is only ONE conclusion I can come to.

        For things to work out the way the conspiritors wanted them to, they couldn’t risk telling delegates in advance that they were planning to hold a ballot to elect a new chair at the (scheduled) meeting on the Saturday, precisely because THAT ran the risk – a very high risk – of one or more delegates complaining to the NEC that NPF officers had not allowed enough time and, as such, the NEC having to then notify the NPF officers that they were in breach of the rules, and that they would have to postpone the ballot AND notify all delegates immediately (by email) that THAT was the case.

        The point being of course that IF it had happened like that, then the ‘theatre’ couldn’t have played out the way THEY – the conspiritors – wanted it to. For THAT to happen, THEY could only announce it on the morning of the day of the meeting – ie the Saturday – and do so knowing full well, that when they DID, they would be told they COULDN’T, and on being told they couldn’t, then act out their pre-planned indignation etc (and make sure that someone filmed it).

        And THAT’S what happened, and along with the stuff they had already concocted about Andy Kerr shoving Katrina Murray and swearing at her, they then contacted their media buddies with their pre-planned quotes and the pre-planned tweets they had tweeted, and Hey Presto, their concocted and contrived theatrics and fabrications are all over the media, but no-one but them knows that it was all concocted and contrived and fabricated.

        And I have little doubt that Cryer and Black were in on it all and part and parcal of the machinations, along with the tweeters of course, and those that provided the media with quotes such as Angell, and of course Katrina Murray, and no doubt a few others besides.

        And just to reiterate: If you know that you have to inform delegates at least seven days prior to any meeting what is on the itinerary, and have done precisely that in the past, then you would know, that to announce on the day of the meeting that you have decided to hold a ballot, would of course be in breach of the rules and would, as such, not be permitted to proceed.

        So why would you do it if you knew that to be the case? Unless you had other plans up your sleeve!

      7. PS The script was written – concocted – weeks beforehand, and THAT included the timing of ‘events’, and I can only conclude that the plotters did it NOW because they want to do as much damage as they can to JC’s Labour Party BEFORE the local elections in May, as it seems most unlikely that the Tories would call another General Election any time soon, but then again, THEY can conjure up anything they want to.

        The point being of course that if Labour do badly in May, then it would be pretty much impossible for JC to continue as leader.

        And we can’t allow that to happen, and must do everything we can to make sure it doesn’t, because if it DOES, all will be lost.

      8. NB And just to avoid any confusion (to anyone reading through these comments), the comment by skwawkbox directly below is NOT in relation to my three comments above, as can be seen by the date it was posted.

    2. It was a routine, scheduled NPF meeting. The election was added a few days before the meeting.

      1. I guess that is my interpretation of last minute but then I’m not coming from a point of view trying to stir up trouble for any one. I was informed last Tuesday via email that the chair had resigned. You say the election was added a few days before the meeting. I say no it wasn’t . At no point was I, a delegate, informed that there was to be an election. Interpretation of the rules can be argued over if you wish but notice of an election was never provided. After the shenanigans I researched what was going on including speaking to vice chairs and the out going chair. I am an ordinary NPF delegate. I’m not part of the sides trying to get their delegate elected.

      2. An email went out but the title was ‘NPF Update’ and not ‘NPF election’, so a lot of people may have missed its significance. Whether this was by design is something each reader will have to take a view on

  12. I just read the Huffpost coverage of it all, and it has a lot more information in it. According to them there were a number of NEC officers present and:

    ‘A conference call of the NEC officers group voted by 5 votes to 1 to halt the election, multiple sources revealed.’

    Prior to reading this – and going by the two articles I had read covering the matter by skwawkbox and the Mail – I had the distinct impression that it was just Andy Kerr who had intervened. And until I read the Mail article, I wasn’t aware that Jeremy Corbyn was present and was going to give a speech (but then didn’t). But whether it was one or six NEC officers present, it still doesn’t make sense to me that the meeting went ahead in the first place, only to then be postponed just prior to the vote – ie that they should let it go ahead when they must have known that the required amount of time to notify members had not been given.

    Would be great if Skwawkbox could get to the bottom of it all AND confirm if everything in the Huffpost article is actually true. For example, they quote one guy as saying that the rulebook DOESN’T specify that a minimum of seven days notice is required, and given that THAT obviously contradicts what the NEC/Andy Kerr said, was he in fact lying through his teeth so as to create doubt (that it IS seven days) in anyone that reads that in their newspapers.


  13. I just went back to the huffpost article to browse through it again (it’s quite a lengthy article to take in in one go), and it says:

    ‘A Labour source insisted the issue was one of procedure: “For elections to be valid, seven days’ notice is required according to party rules.

    “That’s why the NEC ruled out an election at its first opportunity…..”.’

    At its “first opportunity”! Why on Earth would its “first oppotunity be on the day of the meeting when numerous people have turned up AND just before the vote?

    And at another point in the article it says:

    ‘HuffPost understands there is some union disquiet at the way the party leadership decided to back Fox – who represents the leftwing TSSA union – as its candidate for NPF chair, when other contenders could have had a better chance.

    When it became clear that Fox would not defeat Black, an 11th hour decision to cancel the election was taken.’

    “When it became clear that Fox would not defeat Black…..”?

    How could it become clear if no vote was taken?

    And at another point it states that Andy Kerr said:

    ‘“We are not electing the chair of the NPF today. I repeat we are not electing the chair of the NPF today, under any circumstances.”’

    and then the article continues that:

    ‘Despite his plea, Murray went ahead and called a vote, before the meeting had to be adjourned.

    The party refused to publish the result of the vote but a source in the room told HuffPost that roughly 70 people backed an election and just 45 opposed it.’

    None of it makes sense, so I can’t help thinking that maybe it’s all been contrived specifically to feed to the media – ie the vote, despite what Andy Kerr (and the other NEC officials had told everyone present), and the result of this vote, which “a source in the room” only somehow knew roughly what the result of the vote was (most of whom – the media that is – will happily print or repeat anything that paints Jeremy and his suporters in a bad light).

    Talking of which, WAS Jeremy actually even there!

    Would be good if Skwawkbox could get a detailed account of everything that transpired from a trusted JC supporter who was there and witnessed it all so as to ascertain precisely just what DID happen, or DIDN’T happen, and what is true and what is untrue.

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