Excl: McNicol resignation drama began Tuesday


Iain McNicol’s resignation has just been announced – but is not brand new. The S*n is claiming McNicol had a ‘visit’ from Corbyn this afternoon to tell him he was done. However, that’s more fake news.

The SKWAWKBOX can reveal that the meeting took place on Tuesday – and McNicol was allowed to resign to save face.

After a range of ‘Southside’ interventions, including the premature deactivation of the entry passes to Labour’s Southside HQ of Corbyn and his team on General Election night, many members are celebrating somewhat giddily this evening at the prospect that McNicol’s departure will be the precursor for more widespread changes throughout the party’s bureaucracy, as the Labour Party continues the re-democratisation of a party that was for far too long little more than a vehicle for a controlling elite.

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      1. ‘The Toffee’ You seem to know something about Mark Serwotka that I don’t, please tell me why you object to him?

  1. Can we now get rid of the JLM from the Party who have also been trying to break and undermine Jeremy Corbyn and who have been protected by McNicol.

  2. I do find it odd that the chair of JLM stepped down then the police were called in and now McNicol has resigned.
    If there was any financial impropriety in JLM (and that looks likely) which is affiliated to the Labour Party …. McNicol as general secretary could be complicit/culpable.

  3. THE DEACTIVATION OF ENTRY PASSES ON GE NIGHT?! Good god! I remember hearing about that but I didn’t know it was a deliberate thing rather than a glitch.

  4. Anyone fancy a game of Fantasy Leadership Team?
    You’ll have to start, I’m clueless about football.
    I know I’d have Tom Watson guarding a corner flag but that’s all I’ve got.

      1. A bit like you then Jack, with your silly idea of sticking two fingers up to the 65% of constituencies that voted leave.

        A really, really dumb idea that would hand power to the Tories for a generation.

        Wake up Jack, Blair and Mandelson are out to destroy the Labour Party and you are helping them.

        Shouldn’t you be on the Progress site instead of here?

      2. ‘Internal Affairs’ You cannot produce a cogent argument therefore you sink to juvenile comments. I gave you a comprehensive answer on the Murdoch/Fawkes thread. Don’t let your Brextremism get the better of you!

      3. You are a Progress stooge who is a liability to the Labour Party.

        Go and sabotage somebody else’s party with your electoral suicide strategy.

      4. ‘Internal Affairs’ It’s obvious now that observation, logic and common sense have eluded you but that is often the case with fanatics.

      5. Logic? You’re the person who is sticking two fingers up to 17.4 million voters and 65% of constituencies and who is arguing that is a vote winner you moron.

        Bugger off to the Lib Dems, they think the referendum result should be ignored too.

        They lost over 300 deposits and recorded their lowest vote share since 1959 standing on that platform.

        Progress stooges like you actually want Labour to lose.

      6. ‘Internal Affairs’ When the referendum was held, few facts were known about the consequences of leaving and many people were swayed, as you obviously were, by the lies of the right wing extremists screaming to leave.

        If we have another referendum, sensible people, which lets you out, who are not Brextremists will welcome the option to be able to reconsider their original decision and either stick to it or change their minds either way once most of the facts are clear.

      7. The Labour leader has stated there will not be a second referendum, so that’s the end of that fantasy.

        Off you trot to your true home in the Liberal Democrat Party.

      8. At the moment, Jeremy Corbyn said he does not support a second referendum but as he is a democrat, if public opinion supported it, along with the views of a majority of Labour members, I believe he would look again at the possibility.

      1. Hey, no fair knowing the names of the pieces.
        I’m taking my ball back

  5. HOOOOOO FREEKIN RAY !!!! at last onwards to No 10 unencumbered.
    Next up those bliarite MPs ‘ join us and support Corbyn or leave .

  6. Good riddance!

    I still remember his dirty tricks when he tried to prevent me from voting for the Labour Party Leader. All of a sudden I could not be found on the electoral register. (He and his henchmen didn’t have a chance to snoop through my Facebook account as I don’t have one.)

    He should actually be resigning for his deliberate bull-in-a-china-shop destruction of Labour’s democratic process.

  7. He really REALLY shouldn’t have been allowed to resign. He thoroughly deserved the SACK.

  8. Skwawkbox: I doubt he was allowed to resign merely to save face – there will be powerful legal reasons that he cannot instantly leave. As the party is an Unincorporated Association without a legal persona (ie not a body corporate like a company), most contracts are with the GenSec in a personal capacity, including the employment contracts of the other employees.

    The GenSec probably has to sit down with lawyers to legally assign many contracts over to the next GenSec (or an interim holder) before he is personally clear of the legal personal liability, and until then he can in law still control the contracts. So for both parties benefit it has to be a slow professional process.

    If you recall, it is this personal liability risk that caused David Pitt-Watson not to take up the position, after being selected for it in 2008 under Gordon Brown.

    It is because of this that legal actions against the party are technically against the GenSec. For example in the 2007 case which went as far as a House of Lords appeal, the party was listed as:

    “Watt (formerly Carter) (sued on his own on behalf of the other members of the Labour Party) (Respondent)”

    1. Sorry for a bit of pedantry but if you sue then it is a representative action under CPR r.19.6 so whilst McNicol might be the named party he is just a representative of all the members except the claimant. So it is not an individual action as such. It doesn’t have to be McNicol it could be another representative eg CLP Chair, Regional Director etc.

      1. There you go again, knowing stuff.
        It’s unsporting using actual facts to gain an unfair advantage.
        That’s what it said in the “How To Be a Tory” handbook anyway.
        In the “Make Shit Up and Win” chapter I think.

      2. Duncan, no need to be sorry at all. Your comment has clarified for me the court action rationale, and I’m glad to have read it.

        But my other point stands. An Unincorporated Association cannot enter a contract as it has no legal persona, so officers of the association have to personally agree those contracts on behalf of the association. In Labour’s case it is almost always the General Secretary who does so, though other NEC members could do so if the NEC agreed. This is just like the thousands of UK sports clubs that are unincorporated associations.

        I have rather assumed that the GenSec at the end of his term has to in writing assign the existing contracts over to someone else, ideally the new GenSec, just as most contracts which need explicit assignment to another party. But there may be some legal precedent that does this automatically for unincorporated associations, or that an explicit term of a specially written contract causes this to happen automatically.

        A super-short half page summary of this is at:


  9. Frankly I don’t give a damn re the intricacies of his resigning or saving face or legally having to stay put , he’s toast finished and done , thank stuff for that . Now we can get on with the real business and that’s winning the next election , first the locals in May and then later the GE with out his Machiavellian antics in the background.
    Only note of caution is just what his pursuit of other projects are , no doubt a continuation of undermining Corbyn and the left ,nope best deal is for him to be expelled if he brakes the rules next time to limit further damage.

      1. And after nailing it with Machiavellian 🙂
        I’m waiting for reliable voice-to-text and text-to-voice to come down the pipe. It’ll save my arthritic old fingers some pain and nobody will have to think about spelling ever again – or much else, possibly.
        Hope at least some people will use their own rather than Morgan Freeman’s.

  10. rwendland. Well sort of but not really. Yes it is right the Labour Party is an unincorporated association and so has no legal personality of its own.

    However contractual relationships with third parties by members of a UA are subject to the law of agency. This means that when a person enters into a contract as a member of the UA then if they are acting with the agency authority of their principals those principals are liable not the agent. The principals to the contract can be the membership as a whole (although liability of all members is limited to membership fees or fines required to be paid under the rules of the UA).

    Generally the executive committee of a UA is liable as the principals for a contract formed by an authorised agent. So if McNicol makes a contract of employment this is probably done as an authorised agent on the authority of the NEC (as the Executive) and the contractual liability is jointly and severally on the NEC not McNicol.

    I very much doubt McNicol is the principal in any contract with third parties. However Labour has a number of Incorporated Associations that are used as holding companies to own the capital assets (properties etc) the GS and other senior staff are the directors board members and controllers of these companies so he will need to be removed from all those and a new person put in. The operation and holdings of those companies all seems a little opaque to me and I have never had much luck finding out more detail of who is actually controlling them or how those assets are being managed.

    There is more to the law of agency and it is quite a complex area of contract law but hopefully that explains the gist of it.

    1. I fully agree that the GenSec, provided he acted within his delegated authority, would be jointly and severally liable with others, almost always with the members of the NEC. But isn’t it true if someone brings such a legal case they will pick one individual to sue, either the one most connected with the contract (eg signed the paperwork) or another individual clearly rich enough to settle the financial debt and costs etc. Then that individual has be either indemnified by the committee, or s/he has to counter-sue the other members of the committee for their portion of the debt/costs.

      Suing more than one individual of a UA managing committee just adds to your legal burden, making sure you find the correct committee members at the appropriate time and showing authority chains. I can’t see why anyone would take this on if they can just pick on an individual.

      I point to the 2011 case of Davies v Barnes Webster & Sons Ltd, where the president of a rugby club was sued by builders. He was sued as an individual, but the judge gave him 3 months to organise contributions from the management committee before the builders were allowed to bring a bankruptcy petition personally against the president of the club. (I simplify – it is a fascinating case exhibiting as you say the complex law with relatively few precedents for UAs, making it hard to predict court outcomes.)

      That judgement notes that the principles of agency apply but also, in part, refers to Halsbury which seems to put it well:

      “273. Personal Liabilities of Clubs Officers and Agents. … If persons contract in their own names they are prima facie personally liable and may be sued … the other contracting party may either elect to sue them as having contracted personally or to sue the members as the principals on whose behalf the contract is made.”

      You make a good point that the GenSec would have to resign as director of Labour Party Nominees Limited (which holds most party property in trust) and any other Labour companies, so that will take some time. You can find all the directors at beta.companieshouse.gov.uk.

      The case reffed above is at:


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