PoliticsHome‘s Kevin Schofield has tweeted an ‘anonymous source’ claim that the left is ‘panicking’ because Unite’s Jennie Formby ‘hasn’t got enough support’ for her candidacy for the position of Labour Party General Secretary. The New Statesman‘s Stephen Bush seemed to agree there was a problem:
When Mr Schofield was challenged on his claim, he defended it:
Fair enough, as far as it goes. Of course, the quality of the source(s) are also relevant. This one seems a little, well, out of touch.
First of all, the source says ‘enough support on the left, never mind the wider party‘. At the last leadership election, Jeremy Corbyn received almost 62% of the vote – including 59% of Labour Party members and higher still among registered supporters and union affiliates:
The recent elections for additional NEC members, which the left slate of three candidates won by a country mile over the right, showed that there has been, if anything, a strengthening of the left. Only the one plausibly-independent candidate got anywhere near the winning trio, with the ‘centrists’ Baxter and Josan achieving little more than a third of their votes:
The left is ‘the wider party’.
But that’s small by comparison with the main inaccuracy of the information Schofield received from his source: “Jennie hasn’t got enough support on the left”.
Senior Labour and NEC sources tell the SKWAWKBOX that all the left NEC members have committed to support Jennie Formby, with the exception of a couple who have said they’ll only vote for a left-wing woman – and one who is behind Jon Lansman.
Those committed to Formby include both party and union representatives – including party representatives elected as part of slates backed by Momentum, the organisation founded by Jon Lansman.
In addition, from the ‘wider left’, Ms Formby has the endorsement of:
and others, as well as an array of MPs.
It’s not the first time one of Schofield’s sources have been wrong recently on the General Secretary issue. Earlier this week, we contacted him about a claim that Unite, Jennie Formby’s union, was ‘split’ over whether to support her – which had turned out to be untrue. He responded:
That was information I got from a very good, reliable Labour source.
When we pointed out that the good, reliable source had been wrong, he didn’t dispute that the information had been incorrect but retorted:
Are you suggesting that Sqwawkbox [sic] never gets things wrong? Bold.
Which, of course, was neither suggested nor the point of the question.
Whatever the nature of Schofield’s sources, which of course we would never expect him to reveal, it seems that one of them has misled him badly this week about the state of affairs in the contest for the General Secretary position.
We asked Mr Schofield for comment on the latest claim. He responded that he didn’t “have time for this”.
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